A Cleveland municipal court judge ruled on Thursday that there is probable cause to charge two Cleveland police officers in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Rice was shot and killed by police on Nov. 22, 2014, while he was playing with a pellet gun at a park in Cleveland.
Judge Ronald Adrine issued a ruling that stated he found probable cause to charge Officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot Rice, with “murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide and dereliction of duty,” and he also found probable cause to charge a second officer on the scene, Officer Frank Garmback, with “negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.”
Adrine noted that although the municipal court determined that “complaints should be filed by the prosecutor of the City of Cleveland and/or the Cuyahoga County prosecutor,” the court’s role is only “advisory in nature,” and it is ultimately up to the City Prosecutor to “decide to issue felony complaints in the Cleveland Municipal Court based upon his acceptance of the court’s determination that there is probable cause to believe certain accusations found in the affidavits posted against these Patrol Officers.”
The New York Times reported that county prosecutor, Timothy McGinty, released a statement in response to the court’s ruling, indicating that he would not be “rushed into filing a criminal complaint.”
“This case, as with all other fatal use-of-deadly-force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go to the grand jury,” McGinty said. “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.”
As Truth In Media previously reported, the family of Tamir Rice filed a lawsuit on Jan. 30, stating that Rice’s death and subsequent injuries suffered by his family were “directly and proximately caused” by officers Loehmann and Garmback.
While the city of Cleveland’s response noted that it was unable to respond in full due to the ongoing investigation, it did cite 20 defenses, with one including the allegation that Rice’s death was caused by his failure to “exercise due care to avoid injury.”
In April, attorneys for Loehmann and Garmback asked a federal judge to halt a lawsuit filed against them, until the criminal investigation into their actions has been completed. In response, Rice’s family filed a motion on May 4, in objection to the request, stating that delays in the lawsuit will hurt their case.
While Adrine’s ruling claimed that the video surveillance from the incident was low in quality, it does acknowledge the fact that after Rice is shot, nearly four minutes pass where he is left lying on the ground, and when his sister arrives on the scene, she is “restrained from going to her brother’s side.”
The video shows Rice’s 14-year-old sister rushing to her brother’s side, and then being thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and placed in a police cruiser by Garmback. She is then forced to wait in the cruiser, and to watch while police stand around, without attempting to provide any first aid to her brother.
“This has to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Walter Madison, an attorney for the Rice family, who called the video “shocking and outrageous.”