CLEVELAND- Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty announced Monday afternoon that a grand jury will not bring charges against the two officers in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Police were called to Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland on Nov. 22, 2014 after a 911 caller reported a male in the area waving a gun. "There's a guy with a pistol," the 911 caller told dispatch. "The guy keeps pulling it out. It's probably fake." The officers were not told the gun may be fake.
Officer Frank Garmback was driving the police cruiser and stopped next to a gazebo, putting the cops between Rice and the rec center. The Cleveland Division of Police said they ordered Rice to drop the weapon, before Officer Timothy Loehmann fired. Rice had an airsoft pistol that police say looked like a real gun.
The 12-year-old suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach and was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he died the following day.
Prosecutor McGinty said the investigation revealed that Officer Loehmann had reason to fear for his life. "It would be irresponsible or unreasonable if the officer was required to wait and see if the gun was real." McGinty also said Tamir Rice's size made him look older.
The prosecutor said Tamir Rice's family was notified and condolences were given. He called the shooting death an "absolute tragedy" and said, "There have been lessons learned already in this case. It should never happen again, and steps have been taken to make sure it is not. The city has bought body cameras. Dash cameras are on the way for city police and suburban departments."
Assistant Prosecutor Matt Meyer, chief of the Public Corruption Unit, showed a real gun vs. a replica of the airsoft pistol Rice had. He said Rice spent several hours at the rec center. He got the airsoft pistol from a friend, who said he removed the orange tip from the gun.
Prosecutor McGinty wants to call on legislature and manufacturers to not make toy guns that look real.
He also said it is now time for the community and all of us to start to heal.
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