A grand jury in Cleveland elected not to bring criminal charges against the two police officers involved in last year’s fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Yesterday’s decision not to indict officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback ends a months-long criminal investigation into the high-profile shooting. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, whose oversight of the grand jury process drew criticism, called the case “a perfect storm of human error.” The grand jury heard evidence over nearly three months, including conflicting reports written by five experts in police use of force, statements read by Loehmann and Garmback and testimony from some of Tamir’s relatives who arrived within minutes at the shooting scene. The officers each wrote that they saw Tamir pulling what they thought was a real gun out of his waistband before Loehmann shot the boy from close range on Nov. 22, 2014.
The officers arrived at a recreation center after a man reported a “guy with a pistol” was scaring people. Tamir had been playing with a replica pellet gun with the orange safety tip removed. The caller also said that the gun was “probably fake” and that the suspect was “probably a juvenile,” but those details were not relayed to the officers. The entire interaction, captured by a city-owned surveillance camera, lasted less than two seconds. Loehmann wrote that he shouted four times for Tamir to show his hands before he opened fire. McGinty released three reports from experts in police use of force that each found the boy’s shooting was tragic but reasonable because the officers did not know Tamir’s age or that the gun was fake. Lawyers for the Rice family, community activists and a group of rabbis and pastors had called for McGinty to allow a special prosecutor to take over the investigation.