November 22nd 2014:
Tamir Rice, a Black boy playing in a park in Cleveland, Ohio with a toy airgun, is shot down by police. The police report they gave him three warnings before shooting, that Rice was in his 20s. The video shows them shooting him almost instantly. Tamir Rice is 12.
The two White police officers, Tim Loehmann, the shooter, and Frank Garmback, his partner, let Rice lay there in pain. They do nothing to save his life. When his 14-year-old sister runs to his side, they push her to the ground and handcuff her. Rice dies the next morning at the hospital.
The police investigate themselves. Loehmann and Garmback have not been arrested.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) completes its investigation into the Cleveland police that was already under way when Rice was killed. It reports that the Cleveland police have a pattern of using too much force and violating people’s rights. The DOJ and Cleveland talk about needed reforms.
After the family sues the city for damages, the city blames Rice for his own death: “by the failure … to ensure due care to avoid injury.” They also blame his mother and older sister. The mayor admits the wording was “insensitive”.
The police still have not told Rice’s mother that they are sorry for killing her son. They still have his body.
The police are still investigating themselves.
The family gets Rice’s body back.
Cleveland and the DOJ agree to change policy on the use of force and to train police to be less racist.
The police are still investigating themselves, probably because Loehmann and Garmback have refused to be interviewed.
Ronald Adrine, a Black judge in Cleveland, rules that there is enough evidence to charge Loehmann with murder and Garmback with negligent homicide. He says the ruling is only “advisory”.
Timothy J. McGinty, the White county prosecutor, says the ruling is “irrelevant”: the grand jury will decide.
The police have completed their investigation and give McGinty their 224-page report. Yet McGinty does not move forward to the grand jury.
McGinty receives a petition with 60,000 names demanding that he moves forward with the case.
October 11th 2015:
McGinty makes public two independent reviews of the evidence by well-regarded use-of-force experts: Kimberly A. Crawford, a White retired FBI agent, and S. Lamar Sims, a Black senior chief deputy district attorney in Denver.
Sims and Crawford both conclude that, at least under the US Constitution (they are not experts on Ohio law), Loehmann’s actions were “objectively reasonable”: police have the right to gun you down without warning if they think you have a gun and look like you are reaching for it. Even if you are 12.
Ohio law allows people to openly carry guns.
The police union loves the reports. The lawyer for Rice’s family calls them a whitewash by pro-police “hired guns”.
McGinty has yet to go to the grand jury, four months after the police completed their investigation.
Loehmann and Garmback have not been arrested.
– Abagond, 2015.
Update (October 29th): The grand jury started meeting last week. Loehmann and Garmback gave testimony. In most grand jury hearings, suspects do not get to testify since it is supposed to be about whether there is enough evidence to go to trial, not about trying the case in secret without having suspects cross-examined. The same was done to get Darren Wilson off. The head of the police union: “I have all the confidence in the world in the grand jury system and our system of justice.” Huge, huge red flag. More.
Update (November 17th): McGinty, the county prosecutor, last week made public yet another report that finds the police’s actions “objectively reasonable”. This one is by police consultant W. Ken Katsaris, who also testified in the Michael Brelo case. More.
Update (December 28th): Tamir Rice’s killer walks. The grand jury said it will bring no charges in the death of Tamir Rice. More.
Update (March 17th 2016): Thanks largely to protesters, McGinty has been voted out of office! More.
- Tamir Rice – the post I wrote 11 days after the shooting
- grand jury – required reading for anyone who wonders how US police get away with murder.
- John Crawford – a very similar case, also in open-carry Ohio. The police were never charged with a crime.
- Michael Brelo – a Cleveland killer cop who got away with killing two unarmed Black people
- Phantom Negro Weapon
- Phantom Caucasian Justice
- The extremely incomplete list of unarmed Blacks killed by police