The Tamir Rice case is back in the news because attorney’s for the family have requested the Justice Dept. to re-open the investigation to the Cleveland police shooting that killed the youngster in 2014.
On Friday (04-16-21) an eight-page letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to allow prosecutors to convene a grand jury. The letter says that the Justice Department under then-President Obama opened an investigation into the matter. But years later, then-President Trump’s political appointees stifled it.
“Career attorneys at DOJ sought twice to convene a grand jury in this case, only to be quashed by their political superiors,” says the letter signed by Jonathan Abady, Earl Ward and Zoe Salzman, New York attorneys who represent the family with other lawyers, including Subodh Chandra in Cleveland.
“The election of President Biden, your appointment and your commitment to the rule of law, racial justice, and police reform give Tamir’s family hope that the chance for accountability is not lost forever,” the letter says.
In December, prior to Garland’s appointment, the Justice Department officially closed the investigation into the 12-year-old boy’s death. It said there was not enough evidence to bring charges against the officers involved in the case.
Cleveland.com is reporting:
Then-officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir at Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014, while the boy was playing was an airsoft pellet gun. He died the next day. Loehmann was a rookie officer. He was a passenger in a car driven by a veteran training officer, Frank Garmback.
The two officers responded to a report of someone pointing a gun at people outside the recreation center. The caller told a 911 dispatcher that the gun looked fake, but that information was never relayed to the officers. Garmback was suspended 10 days, but an arbitrator reduced the suspension to five days.
The city of Cleveland did not fire Loehmann for any action he took during the November 2014 killing of Tamir, but rather for lying on his initial application about his reason for leaving his previous job at a suburban police department.
Cleveland settled a federal civil-rights lawsuit with the boy’s family for $6 million. A Cuyahoga County grand jury in 2015 declined to indict the officers.