Justice Department declines to file charges against officers in deadly shooting of Tamir Rice

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The U.S. Department of Justice closed its independent investigation into the deadly shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

The Justice Department said it found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. Rice’s family was notified of the decision on Monday.

“Although Tamir Rice’s death is tragic, the evidence does not meet these substantial evidentiary requirements.  In light of this, and for the reasons explained below, career federal prosecutors with both the Civil Rights Division and the U.S.  Attorney’s Office concluded that this matter is not a prosecutable violation of the federal statutes,” the DOJ said in a news release on Tuesday.

The DOJ said video of the incident is time-lapsed, grainy and doesn’t have audio so Rice’s hands are not visible at relevant times. Federal investigators also said Loehmann and Garmback gave several statements and consistently repeated main points.

Rice was shot and killed at Cudell Recreation Center on West Boulevard in Cleveland on Nov. 22, 2014 after a person called 911 reporting seeing a person with a gun. The caller said the individual was, “probably a juvenile” and the gun was, “probably fake.” That information was not passed along to the officers, according to the investigation.

Police said Loehmann opened fire when he said the boy reached towards his waistband. The gun turned out to be an airsoft pistol.

Loehmann was fired from the Cleveland Division of Police in 2017 for lying on his police application, not the deadly shooting. His termination, though appealed, was upheld by the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association said it is still fighting to get him his job back.

When asked for a statement from the Rice family, the Chandra law firm referred us to a letter from November. It called on then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr for answers.

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