Ohio prosecutor criticized over reports on child's shooting by police

New Reports Say Tamir Rice Shooting Was 'Reasonable'


An Ohio prosecutor handling the fatal shooting by police of a 12-year-old boy while he played with a replica pistol was criticized by activists on Sunday for releasing two reports that called the shooting "reasonable" before any grand jury decision on charges had been announced.

"It looks as though the prosecutor is trying to taint the grand jury process as well as manipulate the judicial process overall," said Edward Little, one of the so-called Cleveland 8, a group of clergy, academics and activists who have called for the two police officers involved in the November 2014 playground shooting of Tamir Rice to be indicted.

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

The conclusions of a retired FBI agent and an out-of-state prosecutor were submitted to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office ahead of an expected decision by a grand jury on whether criminal charges were warranted in the shooting, which was captured on surveillance video.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement on Saturday that his office was not reaching any conclusions based on the two reports. The reports said Timothy Loehmann, the white officer who shot Rice, who was black, opened fire because he felt threatened.

The case is one in a series of high-profile police-related shooting deaths of African-Americans which have raised questions about the use of force by law enforcement.

See photos of protests that sparked after Rice's death:

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Tamir Rice, 12-year-old boy shot by Cleveland police
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Ohio prosecutor criticized over reports on child's shooting by police
Jun 9, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tadar Muhammad (right) and Jeremy Brustein (left) demonstrate in support of Tamir Rice outside of Quicken Loans Arena prior to game three of the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
A police officer (L) is seen pointing his weapon during an incident involving the shooting of a 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014. Tamir E. Rice was shot by a patrol officer on Saturday after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Cleveland Police Department/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
A boy holds a sign in support as Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year old boy who was fatally shot by police last month while carrying what turned out to be a replica toy gun, speaks during a news conference at the Olivet Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio December 8, 2014. The mother of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police last month broke her silence on Monday, saying the officers involved should be criminally convicted. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)
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)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: (L-R) Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo; Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Samaira Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice; Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown Jr; Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner; and Rev. Al Sharpton address the 'Justice For All' march and rally in the nation's capital December 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. Organized by Sharpton's National Action Network, this march and others 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)
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)
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)
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)
A mourner looks at a program during the funeral service for Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio December 3, 2014. Rice had an Airsoft-type replica gun that resembles a semiautomatic pistol and was fatally shot by a patrol officer after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY)
Steve Dore screams in protest of the Cleveland Police while pointing to a tattoo on his head memorializing Tamir Rice near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Samaria Rice (C) leaves the funeral services of her son Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio December 3, 2014. Rice had an Airsoft-type replica gun that resembles a semiautomatic pistol and was fatally shot by a patrol officer after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year old boy who was fatally shot by police last month while carrying what turned out to be a replica toy gun, speaks during a news conference at the Olivet Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio December 8, 2014. The mother of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police last month broke her silence on Monday, saying the officers involved should be criminally convicted. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)
Tamir E. Rice, 12, is seen allegedly pointing a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014. Rice was shot by a patrol officer on Saturday after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people. REUTERS/Cleveland Police Department/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
People hold a banner as they take part in a protest against the police in Washington Square in Manhattan, New York, December 28, 2015 after a grand jury cleared two Cleveland police officers on Monday in the November 2014 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Rice was brandishing a toy gun in a park, and a prosecutor said there were a series of mistakes but no criminal activity. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 29: Members of the Cleveland Police Department form a roadblock on E. 9th St. on December 29, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors took to the street the day after a grand jury declined to indict Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann for the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 29: Katy Kostenko (Holding sign), a 19-year old resident of Cleveland, marches with other activists on St Clair Ave. on December 29, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors took to the street the day after a grand jury declined to indict Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann for the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
Demarcus Scott, one of the leaders for the activist group CBUS which is also a part of the Black Lives Matter movement is seen giving an interview in the Attorney Generals office in Columbus, Ohio December, 30, 2015. A list of demands was read to Stephen Schumaker the Deputy Attorney General for Law Enforcement one of which was for Attorney General Mike DeWine to give a statement that the killing of Tamir Rice was unjust after a local Grand Jury decided not to press criminal charges against the patrolman who shot and killed the young boy in November, 2014. The Attorney General would not give the statement over the phone, and agreed to meet with the activist group at a later date. (Photo by Seth Herald/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 26: An unidentified woman protests the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 26. Rice was shot by a Cleveland Police Officer responding to a 911 call about a child waving a gun, discovered to be a toy after the shooting, outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland's near west side. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Mourners covered a park table at the Cudell Commons Park with stuffed animals, prayer candles, and letters for 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. Rice died the previous weekend after being shot by a Cleveland police officer responding to a 911 call about a 'male threatening people with a gun.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Mourners covered a park table at the Cudell Commons Park with stuffed animals, prayer candles, and letters for 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. Rice died the previous weekend after being shot by a Cleveland police officer responding to a 911 call about a 'male threatening people with a gun.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
A man displays a sign during a rally at Cudell Commons Park in Cleveland, Ohio, November 24, 2014 where Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy was shot by police on November 23. Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams on Monday defended the conduct of the officer who fatally shot the 12-year-old who was wielding a replica handgun. Tamir Rice died in hospital early Sunday after two police officers, responding to a 911 emergency call, confronted the African-American youngster at a recreation center. The incident came as Americans awaited a grand jury's decision on whether to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb of Ferguson for the fatal shooting in August of black teenager Michael Brown. AFP PHOTO JORDAN GONZALEZ (Photo credit should read JORDAN GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Mourners covered a park table at the Cudell Commons Park with stuffed animals, prayer candles, and letters for 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. Rice died the previous weekend after being shot by a Cleveland police officer responding to a 911 call about a 'male threatening people with a gun.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Protesters gather outside of City Hall to protest the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 26. Rice was shot by a Cleveland Police Officer responding to a 911 call about a child waving a gun, discovered to be a toy after the shooting, outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland's near west side. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Justice for Tamir sign held aloft. 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)
A mourner reads the obituary from the program during the funeral service for Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio December 3, 2014. Rice had an Airsoft-type replica gun that resembles a semiautomatic pistol and was fatally shot by a patrol officer after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY)
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Little said the release of the reports to media late Saturday on a holiday weekend was "reminiscent" of prosecutors' handling of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri where details of the case were leaked to the media before a grand jury decision not to bring charges against the police officer involved.

"This community has lost all hope in this prosecutor to be fair and impartial," Little said.

Retired FBI agent Kimberly Crawford, in a review of the shooting, wrote that it was "apparent not only was Officer Loehmann required to make a split-second decision, but also that his response was a reasonable one."

In another report, Colorado prosecutor S. Lamar Sims also concluded that "Officer Loehmann's belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable, as was his response to that perceived threat."

Cleveland Officer Had 'No Choice' But to Shoot Tamir Rice

The Rice family's attorney, Subodh Chandra, accused prosecutors of failing to properly advocate for the victim and of "sandbagging" the grand jury proceedings by improperly releasing case documents.

"Our prosecutor is freelancing. The officers here are being given special treatment," he said in a phone interview.

Civil rights activists lit up social media on Sunday to criticize the handling of the case.

"It's Mike Brown all over again. The police are working their tactics to make sure the family don't get that day in court," said Tory Russell, with Hands Up United, a Ferguson-based social rights group.

"This is a very transparent attempt to undermine the ability to receive justice for Tamir Rice and his family," said Arisha Hatch, with the civil rights group Color of Change.

Rice was killed after Cleveland police received an emergency call about someone brandishing a gun outside a city recreation center. Officer Loehmann shot Rice twice in the abdomen, seconds after his partner, who also is white, drove their vehicle to within 5 feet (1.5 meters) of the boy in the playground. The gun turned out to be an replica pistol that shoots pellets, but had the orange tip removed.

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