Friday, October 16, 2015

Samaria Rice is Working For Tamir

Photo Credit: Sheehan Hannan
"Since the senseless shooting of my son Tamir Rice, I have had many sleepless nights and days," said Samaria Rice during a morning press conference in front of the Justice Center. "It's almost a year now — no justice, no peace."

The announcement came in response to Prosecutor Timothy McGinty's decision to release two reports — one by a Colorado prosecutor and one by a retired FBI special agent — last Saturday that called the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by officer Timothy Loehmann "objectively reasonable."

On Nov. 22, 2014, Tamir was playing in the park with a toy gun that had the orange safety tip removed when a 911 caller alerted police to a black male who was “probably a juvenile” carrying a gun that was “probably fake.” But when the dispatcher failed to relay all of the information, officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann responded to the call. Video shows the officers driving onto the grass within 5 feet of the boy and firing on him within two seconds of arrival. Now, one year later, Samaria is still waiting for McGinty to present his investigation into her son's death to a grand jury.

"I would like for [McGinty] to step down and allow an independent prosecutor to take over Tamir Rice's case," Samaria said.

Photo Credit: Sheehan Hannan
Samaria's lawyers delivered the request for removal to McGinty prior to the conference in an eight-page letter that cited two separate incidents this past year in which officers were quickly indicted on murder charges in South Carolina and Baltimore. If McGinty refuses to step aside for a independent prosecutor, Samaria's lawyers requested that he publicly state whether he will seek an indictment in the case.

"When a tragedy like this happens, people want justice," said attorney Jonathan S. Abbey, who is one of three lawyers representing the family. "What is justice in a situation like this? Justice in a situation like this involves accountability, it involves holding people responsible and accountable for what they’ve done. Justice involves impartiality, it involves holding people responsible for the wrongdoing that they committed. We are concerned. We are upset. We are frustrated. We are angry because we feel justice is not in process and not in motion in this case."

Cleveland Magazine's story "For Tamir," which will appear in the November issue, is available online here.

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