Tamir Rice Shooting Justified: Reports

Cop acted reasonably, given what he knew in the situation
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2015 6:13 AM CDT
Tamir Rice Shooting Justified: Reports
In a Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 file photo, Tomiko Shine holds up a picture of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy fatally shot on Nov. 22 by a rookie police officer, in Cleveland, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana))

The death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of a Cleveland police officer "was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking," but it was justified given what Officer Timothy Loehmann knew at the time of the shooting, independent inquiries have found. "Officer Loehmann's belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat," read the reports by a pair of nationally known experts in use of police force, reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The reports are among the first sought by the Cuyahoga County prosecutor for a grand jury investigation into the shooting death of the boy in November; Tamir was carrying a fake gun as officers responded to a 911 call about a "guy" waving a gun around that was "probably" fake—the latter info wasn't relayed to Loehmann.

"We are not reaching any conclusions from these reports," says the county prosecutor. "The gathering of evidence continues, and the grand jury will evaluate it all." The lawyer for Tamir's family wasted little time in lambasting the reports, saying that "it is now obvious that the prosecutor's office has been on a 12-month quest to avoid providing that accountability," and noting the release at 8pm on a Saturday of a holiday weekend. "To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash—when the world has the video of what happened—is all the more alarming. Who will speak for Tamir before the grand jury? Not the prosecutor, apparently." (More Tamir Rice stories.)

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