Judge Finds Grounds to Charge Officer With Murder of 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice

Claire Bernish
June 12, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Cleveland municipal court judge Ronald Adrine announced Thursday that he found sufficient evidence to charge the police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice with murder—saying he was “still thunderstruck by how quickly [that] event turned deadly” after watching surveillance video that shows the officer killing Rice within two seconds of  arriving on scene.

Were the prosecutor to take the case, the judge found grounds for officer Timothy Loehmann to be prosecuted for murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty. For officer Frank Garmback, who accompanied Loehmann at the time of Rice’s murder, there are  grounds for  charges of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.

But Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty won’t be taking the case.

“This case, as with all other fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go to the grand jury. That has been the policy of this office since I was elected. Ultimately, the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged,” he explained.

The judge’s statement describes the video as “notorious and difficult to watch,” and says that Rice had “little if any” time to react to “commands” from officers, yet Rice made no “furtive movements” before the use of deadly forceeven noting the “patrol car is still in the process of stopping when Rice is shot […] Literally, the entire encounter is over in an instant.”  Further, “[f]ollowing the shooting, four additional minutes pass, during which neither officer approaches Tamir as he lies wounded on the ground.”

Loehmann killed Rice when both officers responded to a 911 call that claimed Rice was pointing a pellet gun which was “probably fake.” Whether that detail was communicated to the officers remains unknown.

An obscure Ohio law, which allows any person with knowledge of the facts in a case to directly petition a judge to initiate criminal proceedings, led local clergy and activists to file the affidavits.

Adrine has handed over his findings to McGinty and city prosecutors. Because, as the judge emphasized, his role was “advisory in nature,” no arrest warrants have been issued for either officer.

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