In the case of Tamir Rice, the officials are declining to reject the feeds

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department announced Tuesday it will not bring federal criminal charges against two Cleveland police officers in connection with the 2014 murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, saying the video of the shooting is not of high quality for prosecutors. Determine what happened.

Closing the case, the department ended a long-running investigation into high-profile shootings that helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement and became part of a national dialogue on police use against minorities, including children. The ruling, released in a lengthy statement, does not support the authorities’ action, but says the accumulated evidence was not sufficient to support federal criminal civil rights proceedings.

Tamir was playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland on November 22, 2014, when he was shot and killed by Lohiman and his colleague, Officer Frank Garmbek, seconds after arriving at the scene. . Officers were called to the recreation center to report that a “person” was pointing a gun at people while a man was drinking beer and waiting for a bus. Caller told the 911 dispatch that it was possible. Was a teenager and the gun may have been “fake”, although that information was never given to officers.

In order to bring a charge of federal civil rights in such cases, the Department of Justice must prove that the actions of an officer intentionally break the law rather than result in error, negligence, or bad judgment. The Department of Justice has denied the criminal charges against police officers in recent years, including the death of Eric Garner in New York City. And Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the statement, the boy’s family lawyer Subodh Chandra said the Justice Department’s “process was tarnished” and the family has asked lawyers to provide additional information about the recommendations made during the investigation.

“It is beyond comprehension that the department could not identify that the window of the patrol car was closed and it was a winter’s day when an officer says he issued orders,” Chandra said. “The rice family has again been deceived with due process.”

In the case, the Justice Department said prosecutors recording poor-quality surveillance video in the area where the shooting took place could not determine for sure whether Rice had arrived for his toy gun before the shooting. Both officers who were investigated told officers immediately after the shooting that Rice was reaching for his toy weapon before the rice was struck and several orders were given to show his hand.

But the sequence of events reviewed by federal attorneys makes the sequence of events less clear. The grenade time-lapse video, which has no audio dio, “shows no detail or perspective” and the camera’s view is obstructed by a police patrol car, prosecutors said. In addition, they said, the position of the boy’s arms indicated that they were close to his waist, “his hands do not appear in the video and what he is doing cannot be determined from the video.”

The Justice Department says experts from seven users – maintained by three families, by three local officials – reviewed the recordings, but the poor quality of the video on which they rely and their “conflicting opinions add little to the case.” Experts used by the family said the shooting was unfair while four others said it was fair.

The New York Times reported in October that the department had effectively closed the investigation, but Tuesday’s announcement makes it official.

According to the Justice Department, the inconsistent witness statements complicated any legal proceedings, and neither of them said they had seen exactly what Rice did before the shooting, according to the Justice Department.

In a statement to three other law enforcement officers at the scene, Lohmann “repeatedly and consistently stated that” he shot Tamir before he reached for the gun, prosecutors said.

Both Lohmann and Garmbek also said in post-shooting statements that Lohim had given Tamir “multiple orders to show his hand before the shooting” and that both officers had seen him reach for a weapon. Prosecutors said Lohmann and Garmbek were the only two witnesses “close to the shooting.”

The state’s grand jury refused to convict Lohmann, although he had previously been fired after finding he was previously “unfit for duty.”

The Justice Department also investigated whether officers were obstructing justice in statements given to other investigators immediately after the shooting. The plaintiffs concluded that although the statements contained some different language, they were generally consistent. And because there was not enough evidence to prove the statements to be false, the officers wanted to mislead the investigators or obstruct the investigation in their proceedings. There was not even enough evidence to prove the allegations.


Mark Gillespie, an Associated Press writer in Cleveland, contributed to this report.