Reports: Officer's shooting of boy with pellet gun justified

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A white Cleveland police officer was justified in fatally shooting a black 12-year-old boy holding a pellet gun moments after pulling up beside him, according to two outside reviews conducted at the request of the prosecutor investigating the death.

A retired FBI agent and a Denver prosecutor both found the rookie patrolman who shot Tamir Rice exercised a reasonable use of force because he had reason to perceive the boy — described in a 911 call as man waving and pointing a gun — as a serious threat.

SEE MORE: Group seeks charges against Cleveland cops in boy's shooting

The reports were released Saturday night by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, which asked for the outside reviews as it presents evidence to a grand jury that will determine whether Timothy Loehmann will be charged in Tamir's death last November.

"We are not reaching any conclusions from these reports," Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said in a statement. "The gathering of evidence continues, and the grand jury will evaluate it all."

He said the reports, which included a technical reconstruction by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, were released in the interest of being "as public and transparent as possible."

Subodh Chandra, a lawyer for the Rice family, said the release of the reports shows the prosecutor is avoiding accountability, which is what the family seeks.

"It is now obvious that the prosecutor's office has been on a 12-month quest to avoid providing that accountability," he said. He added that the prosecutor's office didn't provide his office or the Rice family with the details from the reports. He also questioned the timing of the release, at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

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Reports: Officer's shooting of boy with pellet gun justified
This undated photo provided by the family's attorney shows Tamir Rice. Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after brandishing what turned out to be a replica gun, triggering an investigation into his death and a legislator's call for such weapons to be brightly colored or bear special markings. (AP Photo/Courtesy Richardson & Kucharski Co., L.P.A.)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Kids with Tamir Rice signs. Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march demanding accountability on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Stop Mass Incarceration Network co-founder Carl Dix with sign. Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march demanding accountability on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
FILE - This is a Nov. 28, 2015 file photo of a combination of still images taken from a surveillance video and released Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, that shows Cleveland police officers arriving at Cudell Park on a report of a man with a gun. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland police, Nov. 22, 2014, after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. A decision on whether to charge two white officers in the death of Tamir Rice, one of the higher-profile cases of black deaths at the hands of officers that have roiled cities nationwide, could come any day. The grand jury making the decision has been meeting since mid-October. (Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office via AP, File)
This still image taken from a surveillance video played at a news conference held by Cleveland Police, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, shows Cleveland police officers arriving at Cudell Park on a report of a man with a gun. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
This fake handgun taken from 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by Cleveland police over the weekend, is displayed after a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. The 12-year-old was shot at a city park after he reportedly pulled the Colt 1911 replica on arriving officers. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
Samaria Rice, center, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, watches the video of Tamir's shooting during a news-conference Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Cleveland. Attorney Benjamin Crump, left, and attorneys Walter Madison, right, watch. Rice and her attorneys talked about the city's response to the lawsuit, a day after Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson apologized for wording in a court document in which the city said the boy died as a result of his own actions. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - In this March 3, 2015 file photo, Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, talks about the family's lawsuit against the city in Cleveland. âI have not yet received an apology from the police department or the city of Cleveland in regards to the killing of my son,â she said. âAnd it hurts.â (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: Cory Webb, 24, raises a sign on the corner of E. Roadway as demonstrators protest police violence December 20, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: An unidentified woman raises a sign to protest police violence December 20, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors from Ferguson travelled to Cleveland to rally against the shooting of 12-year old Tamir Rice. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: Demonstrators march on Euclid Ave. in the Playhouse Square district December 21, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors gathered to voice opposition to the shooting death of 12-year old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: Demonstrators march on E. 9th Street December 21, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. For the second straight day protestors gathered in downtown Cleveland to voice opposition to excessive use of police force. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: Rev. Al Sharpton (C) leads the 'Justice For All' march in the nation's capital with the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo and other unarmed black men who were killed by police, December 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. Organized Sharpton's National Action Network, this march and other like it across the country aim to tell Congress and the country that demonstrators will not stand down until there is systemic change, accountability and justice in cases of police misconduct. Sharpton said the demonstration is happening in Washington 'because all over the country we all need to come together and demand this Congress deal with the issues, that we need laws to protect the citizens in these states from these state grand jurors.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Samaria Rice, center, speaks about the investigation into the death of her son Tamir Rice, at a news conference with attorneys Walter Madison, left, and Benjamin Crump in Cleveland, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. A Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 22, 2014, as he played with a toy gun outside a recreation center. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Samaria Rice, of Cleveland, Ohio, touches her hand to her face during an interview at The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in New York. A Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 22 as he played with a toy gun outside a recreation center. Rice says her son was never given a chance to follow officers' orders, but she believes the family "will have justice." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Surveillance video released by police shows Tamir Rice being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping within a few feet of him at a park on Nov. 22. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Attorney Benjamin Crump, left, answers questions during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Samaria Rice, second from right, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, listens. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. Tamir Rice was confronted Nov. 22 when officers responded to a 911 call about someone with a gun near a playground. Surveillance video shows him being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping nearby. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Samaria Rice, center, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - This file photo from Dec. 8, 2014, shows Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, as she speaks during a news conference in Cleveland. Leonard Warner, right, Tamir's father, listens. A decision on whether to charge two white officers in the death of Tamir Rice, one of the higher-profile cases of black deaths at the hands of officers that have roiled cities nationwide, could come any day. The grand jury making the decision has been meeting since mid-October. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
CORRECTS THE ID OF THE MALE ON POSTER TO TAMIR RICE - Tomiko Shine holds up a picture of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy fatally shot on Nov. 22 by a rookie police officer, during a protest in response to a grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo. to not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Protesters across the U.S. have walked off their jobs or away from classes in support of the Ferguson protesters. Rice's death has also sparked community demonstrations against police shootings. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Cleveland police deputy chief Ed Tomba answers questions at a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, after the release of the surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. Listening are Chief Calvin Williams, left, and Mayor Frank Johnson, second from left. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba, second from right, shows surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba, right, shows surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators lay down in Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters block cars on the freeway Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Demonstrators block the Memorial Shoreway in Cleveland, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators surround a car on Memorial Shoreway in Cleveland. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. The protestors blocked both lanes of the highway for about an hour during the evening rush. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators block Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters block cars on the freeway Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
File - In this Nov. 25, 2014 file photo, police arrest a demonstrator protesting against the shooting of 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland. The revelation that Cleveland police officials didn't review the checkered history of a police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy highlights what some describe as an unnerving truth about policing -- there's no universal standard for how deeply a department should dig into its recruits' pasts. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, file)
Police arrest a demonstrator during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice at Public Square in Cleveland Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators gather to protest the shooting of Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Angeli Delcerro places a large stuffed toy at the makeshift memorial for Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators march to protest the shooting of Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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"To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash — when the world has the video of what happened — is all the more alarming," Chandra said. "Who will speak for Tamir before the grand jury? Not the prosecutor, apparently."

Both experts were provided with surveillance video of the shooting that showed Loehmann firing at Tamir within two seconds after the police cruiser driven by his partner pulled up next to the boy. Police say the officers were responding to a call about a man with a gun, but were not told the caller said the gun could be a fake and the man an adolescent.

The report prepared by retired FBI agent Kimberly A. Crawford concluded that Loehmann's use of force did not violate Tamir's constitutional rights, saying the only facts relevant to such a determination are those the patrolman had at the time he fired his weapon.

Loehmann, she wrote, "had no information to suggest the weapon was anything but a real handgun, and the speed with which the confrontation progressed would not give the officer time to focus on the weapon."

"It is my conclusion that Officer Loehmann's use of deadly force falls within the realm of reasonableness under the dictates of the Fourth Amendment," Crawford wrote, though she noted she was not issuing an opinion as to whether Loehmann violated Ohio law or department policy.

Lamar Sims, the chief deputy district attorney in Denver, also concluded that Loehmann's actions were reasonable based on statements from witnesses and a reconstruction of what happened that day.

Sims said the officers had no idea if the pellet gun was a real gun when they arrived, and that Loehmann was in a position of great peril because he was within feet of Tamir as the boy approached the cruiser and reached toward his waistband.

"The officers did not create the violent situation," Sims wrote in his review. "They were responding to a situation fraught with the potential for violence to citizens."

Another officer who recovered the pellet gun after Tamir was shot told investigators he first thought the gun was a semiautomatic pistol and was surprised when he realized it wasn't real, Sims noted.

Chandra, the Rice family lawyer, says the experts "dodge the simple fact that the officers rushed Tamir and shot him immediately without assessing the situation in the least. Reasonable jurors could find that conduct unreasonable. But they will never get the chance because the prosecutor is working diligently to ensure that there is no indictment and no accountability."

The pellet gun Tamir was holding shoots non-lethal plastic projectiles but its orange markings had been removed.

The killing of Tamir has become part of a national outcry about minorities, especially black boys and men, dying during encounters with police. His death was not the first to roil Cleveland, either: Earlier this year, a white officer prosecuted by McGinty was acquitted in the 2012 deaths of two unarmed black motorists killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire after a high-speed pursuit.

Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice are moving forward on a reform-minded consent decree after a DOJ investigation found Cleveland police had engaged in a practice of using excessive force and violating people's rights. That agreement was in the works before Tamir was killed.

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