In a case that has stretched well over a year an Ohio grand jury declined today to bring charges against the two officers involved in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Amid ongoing protests and independent investigations from Rice's family, the jury has decided not to indict Officer Timothy Loehmann, who was responsible for fatally shooting the unarmed boy at a Cleveland park on Nov. 22, 2014.
A multitude of evidence strongly suggested that unnecessary action was taken on the part of the police officer in deciding to open fire. Earlier this month an expert hired by the Rice family filed a report that suggested Tamir had his hands inside his pockets at the time of the shooting. In May of this year it was discovered that Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, both present at the scene, had yet to be questioned about the incident despite the fact that the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office had ruled Rice's death a homicide in Dec. 2014.
Country prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty reportedly said it was "reasonable" for officers to have believed they faced a threat when they were called about a person wielding a gun and arrived on the scene. However it was later discovered that Rice had a toy gun in his possession. As the New York Times reports, "Mr. McGinty presents evidence in all fatal police encounters to a grand jury, but some activists have questioned the fairness of the process, and have noted that indictments are generally unlikely unless one is sought by a prosecutor." In a press statement he called the actions of the police "a perfect storm of human error," adding that evidence presented "did not constitute criminal action by police."
The Times adds the family and their legal team have long been wary of the prosecution's position to indict one or both involved officers. Lawyers for the family are reportedly seeking an investigation from the Justice Department.