Tamir Rice's Family Wants Case Reopened

Ask Justice Department for new investigation of boy's shooting by police in Cleveland
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2021 12:15 PM CDT
Family of Tamir Rice Wants Case Reopened
Samaria Rice of Cleveland, mother of Tamir Rice.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014, asked the Justice Department on Friday to reopen the case into his death after it was closed in the waning weeks of the Trump administration, per the AP. In late 2020, federal prosecutors said they would not bring charges against the two police officers involved, saying video of the shooting was of too poor a quality for them to conclusively establish what had happened. There were no other prosecutions in the case. In December 2015, a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against the officers. Rice's family said in a letter to the Justice Department that it believes Trump officials were uninterested in seeking justice for him because of political reasons and made the case needlessly complicated.

“The truth is this case is tragically simple. Tamir Rice was a boy. On November 22, 2014, he was doing something many boys enjoy: playing with a toy gun in a park near his house,” attorneys for the family wrote in the letter. Rice was Black, and the police officer who shot him was white. The shooting sparked community protests about the police treatment of Black people, especially after a grand jury decided not to indict the officer or his partner. To bring federal civil rights charges in cases like these, the Justice Department must prove that an officer’s actions willfully broke the law and are not simply the result of a mistake, negligence, or bad judgment. The department has not commented on Friday's development. (The shooting of a 13-year-old in Chicago is the latest police controversy.)

(More Tamir Rice stories.)

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