Officials urge calm after grand jury refuses to indict officers in Tamir Rice shooting

CLEVELAND - Officials are urging calm as they brace for expected protests after a grand jury voted not to indict a white Cleveland police officer for fatally shooting a 12-year-old black boy who was carrying what turned out to be a pellet gun.

See Full Article

Small groups of protesters gathered Monday outside the Cuyahoga County Justice Center and at the recreation centre where Tamir Rice was shot by then-rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann in November 2014. The size of those protests likely was reduced by a cold and steady rain that fell throughout the day.

County Prosecutor Tim McGinty announced that Loehmann and his field training officer wouldn't be indicted because of "indisputable" evidence that Tamir was reaching for what officers thought was a real gun tucked in his waistband, and urged those who disagreed with the grand jury to protest peacefully.

"It is time for the community and all of us to start to heal," McGinty said.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson made a similar plea, as did Tamir's family. Attorneys for the family condemned the grand jury's decision but called on people to express themselves "peacefully and democratically." Deputies set up metal barricades outside the Justice Center after McGinty's news conference on Monday afternoon.

Outside the recreation centre, protesters chanted, "No justice, no peace!"

Cleveland resident Art Blakey held a sign that read, "Indict, Convict, Send Killer Cops to Jail!" He said he wasn't surprised by the grand jury decision.

"There never has been any justice in these police murders," he said. "We're supposed to swallow these things whole as if this is business as usual."

Activists have said they're planning a protest outside the Justice Center on Tuesday afternoon.

The grand jury had been meeting several times a week since mid-October to hear evidence and testimony about the shooting. McGinty said he recommended to the grand jury that Loehmann and patrolman Frank Garmback not be indicted because they had no way of knowing that Tamir was carrying an Airsoft-type gun that shoots nonlethal plastic pellets instead of the actual firearm it's modeled after, a Colt semi-automatic pistol.

A man called 911 that November afternoon to report that a "guy" was pulling a gun out of his pants and was pointing it at people. He also told the dispatcher that it might be a juvenile and the gun might not be real. But the 911 call taker didn't relay that information to the dispatcher who gave the officers their high-priority radio assignment for what is known in police parlance as a "gun run."

"Simply put, given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police," McGinty said.

There was no immediate comment from Loehmann after the decision was announced. An attorney for Garmback issued a statement that said the officers "acted within the bounds of the law."

Steve Loomis, president of Cleveland's largest police union, said the organization was pleased with the grand jury's finding but added the decision "is no cause for celebration, and there will be none."

In a statement, Tamir's family said it was "saddened and disappointed by this outcome - but not surprised." It accused the prosecutor of "abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment."

A video of the shooting recorded by a surveillance camera and released publicly in the days following Tamir's death sparked outrage and helped fuel the national Black Lives Matter protest movement that gathered momentum after black men were killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. Officers in both of those killings were cleared of criminal charges by grand juries.

The surveillance video shows Loehmann shooting Tamir less than two seconds after he emerged from a police cruiser driven by Garmback that skidded to a stop just a few feet from the boy.

Loehmann and Garmback's legal issues haven't ended with the grand jury decision. Jackson said the city will begin an internal review to determine whether the officers should be disciplined for their roles in the killing. The officers and the city are being sued by Tamir's family in federal court, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Cleveland said Monday that there's an ongoing civil rights investigation concerning Tamir's death.

-----

Associated Press reporters Mitch Stacy, Kantele Franko and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, John Seewer in Cleveland and Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump backs efforts to bolster FBI gun checks

    World News CTV News
    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- U.S. President Donald Trump offered support Monday for an effort to strengthen the federal gun background check system as he hunkered down at his private Florida golf course just 40 miles from last week's deadly school shooting. Source
  • Quebec man arrested in 2002 Alberta slaying

    Canada News CTV News
    AIRDRIE, Alta. - A Quebec man has been arrested in the slaying of a 21-year-old woman 16 years ago. The body of Adrienne McColl was found on a rancher's field in February 2002 about 85 kilometres south of Calgary. Source
  • Calgary roller-skating rink closes its doors after more than 5 decades of operation

    Canada News CTV News
    A line of people wrapped around Lloyd’s Recreation on its final day of operation Sunday. Over the past few weeks, thousands of skaters have visited the Calgary roller-skating rink before its official closure after 53 years. Source
  • Toronto firefighter who disappeared in NY, wound up in California returns home

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - The president of the union representing Toronto's firefighters says a fire captain who was found in California after vanishing from a New York state ski slope is back in Canada. Frank Ramagnano says Constantinos (Danny) Filippidis made a brief stop in Lake Placid, N.Y. Source
  • Edmonton woman says she chased down wallet thief, then bought him a coffee

    Canada News CTV News
    A chase turned into a coffee date when an Edmonton woman treated an alleged thief to a beverage shortly after confronting him for stealing a wallet. Tess Aboughoushe said she was out for a run when she heard a woman’s call for help and saw a man take off down the street in broad daylight last week. Source
  • Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling from B.C. court

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says the federal government has announced it will appeal a B.C. court decision that finds indefinite solitary confinement is unconstitutional. The ruling was handed down last month following a challenge by the association and the John Howard Society of Canada. Source
  • Quebec man, 49, arrested in 2002 death of Adrienne McColl in Alberta

    Canada News CBC News
    A Quebec man has been arrested in the 2002 death of Adrienne McColl, whose body was found in a rancher's field near Nanton, about 85 kilometres south of Calgary. Gatineau police arrested Stéphane Parent, 49, on Saturday morning as he was on his way to work. Source
  • Porch lights turn on across continent for N.B. teen behind good-deed movement

    Canada News CTV News
    Porch lights have been turning on across North America in honour of a New Brunswick teenager who turned a terminal prognosis into an online movement that inspired acts of kindness around the globe. Rebecca Schofield died of brain cancer in Moncton on Saturday evening at the age of 18. Source
  • Tessa and Scott shown love with doughnut, signs and a big party in Ilderton, Ont.

    Canada News CBC News
    The cheers for Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir may be the loudest in the small southwestern Ontario town where the pair learned to skate. Ilderton is proudly showing its support for the figure skating duo with a sold-out viewing party planned for the last skate of the couple's Olympics careers on Monday night, local time. Source
  • Police arrest 5 who killed orangutan in Borneo with air gun

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Four Indonesian farmers and a 13-year-old boy admitted they stabbed, clubbed and shot a critically endangered orangutan at least 130 times with an air gun to protect their pineapple crop, police said Monday. Source