DOJ ends probe without charging police in 2014 shooting
Published: Dec 30, 2020 06:38 PM
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday it has closed its civil rights investigation into the fatal 2014 shooting by Cleveland police of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black youth, and that no federal criminal charges would be brought in the case.

The announcement came five years after an Ohio grand jury cleared two Cleveland officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, of state charges of wrongdoing in the death of Rice, who was shot in a playground while holding a toy gun capable of shooting pellets.

The slaying occurred when Loehmann, then a rookie on the Cleveland force, rolled up to the park in a police cruiser with Garmback at the wheel, then sprung from the vehicle and fired his gun twice at the youth within seconds, killing the boy.

Both men are white.

The incident was one of a flurry of high-profile killings of African-American people at the hands of US law enforcement in recent years that have fueled protests giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice.

The two officers in the Rice case had been dispatched in response to a 911-emergency call reporting a suspect with a gun close to a recreation center.

But crucial information the caller gave dispatchers - namely that the person in question was a juvenile and that the supposed weapon might be a toy - was never relayed to Loehmann and his partner before they reached the scene.

As a result, "the officers believed they were responding to a playground where a grown man was brandishing a real gun at individuals, presumably children," the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in its six-page statement.
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