Lawmakers ask Justice Department to reopen Tamir Rice case

U.S. & World

CLEVELAND (WJW)– A group of members of Congress from Ohio are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen the civil rights investigation into the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

On Friday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Reps. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-3) and Tim Ryan (OH-13) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland about the case.

“Tamir Rice should be alive today,” the Democratic lawmakers said in their letter. “The DOJ’s investigation into the officer that killed Tamir was not completed by the end of President Obama’s term, and the Trump Administration abruptly closed the investigation in 2020, providing very little insight or information about the process. Justice delayed is justice denied, and accountability for Tamir Rice’s death has been delayed for more than six years.”

Rice was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer on Nov. 22, 2014 outside of Cudell Recreation Center on the city’s west side 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 Officer Timothy Loehmann opened fire when he said the boy reached towards his waistband. The gun turned out to be an airsoft pistol.

At the end of last year, the Justice Department announced it found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against Loehmann and fellow officer Frank Garmback. The DOJ cited video of the incident, which is time-lapsed, grainy and doesn’t have audio, adding Rice’s hands are not visible at relevant times. 

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

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