On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice was throwing snowballs and playing with a toy pellet gun in a Cleveland park when a police car rolled into the snowy field. Within two seconds of getting out of his squad car, officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed the 12-year-old. The officer has claimed he thought the pellet gun was a real firearm.
On Monday, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced there will be no criminal charges filed against the officers involved. McGinty said that while there was evidence of miscommunication between a 911 dispatcher and the police officers, there was not enough evidence to suggest that the cops had cleared the very high bar for criminal charges in police shooting cases. Ultimately, a grand jury decided to file no charges, as McGinty said he recommended.
The Rice shooting has garnered widespread attention, elevated by the Black Lives Matter movement that has protested racial disparities in law enforcement’s use of force following the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. With tensions already high in Cleveland, the outcome of the grand jury hearings could decide whether the situation escalates as it did in Ferguson or Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.