White officer won't face charges in killing of Cleveland boy

Grand Jury Declines To Bring Charges Against Cops In Tamir Rice Shooting


CLEVELAND (AP) -- A grand jury declined to indict a white rookie police officer in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a black youngster who was shot to death while playing with what turned out to be a pellet gun, a prosecutor said Monday.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said it was "indisputable" that the boy was drawing the pistol from his waistband when he was gunned down - either to hand it over to police or to show them that it wasn't real. But McGinty said there was no way for the officers on the scene to know that.

SEE ALSO: Families demand Chicago police, mayor explain shooting deaths

"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. He said patrolman Timothy Loehmann was justified in opening fire: "He had reason to fear for his life."

Tamir was shot by Loehmann within two seconds of the officer's police cruiser skidding to a stop near the boy outside a city recreation center in November 2014. Loehmann and his training partner, Frank Garmback, were responding to a 911 call about a man waving a gun.

Tamir was carrying a borrowed airsoft gun that looked like a real gun but shot nonlethal plastic pellets. It was missing its telltale orange tip.

Learn more about the Tamir Rice case:
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Tamir Rice, 12-year-old boy shot by Cleveland police
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White officer won't face charges in killing of Cleveland boy
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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A grainy video of the shooting captured by a surveillance camera provoked outrage nationally, and together with other killings of black people by police in places such as Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, it helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a statement, Tamir's family said it was "saddened and disappointed by this outcome - but not surprised." It accused McGinty of "abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment." The family renewed its request for the U.S. Justice Department to step in and conduct "a real investigation."

But echoing the prosecutor, the family urged anyone disappointed in the grand jury decision to express that "peacefully and democratically."

The grand jury had been hearing evidence and testimony since mid-October.

Read reactions to the decision:

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Tamir Rice social reactions
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White officer won't face charges in killing of Cleveland boy
#TamirRice was a child. He deserved better from the world. And now he deserves justice.
Praying for the family of #TamirRice 12 years old shot within 2 seconds by Cleveland police while… https://t.co/zxKVklrZs3
#TamirRice Toy gun. 2 seconds. "There's something happening here. What it is - ain't exactly clear" RIP Tamir.
Cops can fatally shoot 12 year olds with pellet guns and avoid indictment. #brokensystem #TamirRice
Many youth feel the USA govt is treating Black Lives Matter like the ISIS hype.The Gestapolike atmosphere is co-signing that vibe #TamirRice
Tim McGinty served the blue wall of silence well. What's justice denied for #TamirRice worth? Apparently not much. #JusticeLoses
Sat there and watched them criminalize Tamir and justify their own crime. Wasted my time. We already know how they feel. Protect yourself
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In explaining the decision not to bring charges, McGinty said police radio personnel contributed to the tragedy by failing to pass along the "all-important fact" that the 911 caller said the gunman was probably a juvenile and the gun probably wasn't real.

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Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Meyer said it was "extremely difficult" to tell the difference between the fake gun and a real one, since the orange tip had been removed. And he said Tamir was big for his age - 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, with a men's XL jacket and size-36 pants - and could have easily passed for someone much older.

Before police arrived, the youngster was seen repeatedly drawing the gun from his waistband and pointing it at other children, Meyer said.

"There have been lessons learned already. It should never happen again, and the city has taken steps so it doesn't," McGinty said.

Among other things, the Cleveland police department is putting dashboard cameras in every car and equipping officers with bodycams.

Also, the Cleveland police department reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department earlier this year to overhaul its use of force. The settlement was prompted in large part by a car chase that ended with the killing of a couple in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire.

McGinty said it was a "tough conversation" with Tamir's mother when she was told there would be no charges. "She was broken up, and it was very hard," the prosecutor said.

Tamir's family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the two officers and the city.

An investigation found that Tamir was shot at distance of between 4½ and 7 feet and that Loehmann fired twice, with one shot missing the boy. Both officers insisted that they shouted at Tamir repeatedly to show his hands before Loehmann opened fire.

"With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out. I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active," Loehmann told investigators.

After the boy's killing, it was learned that Loehmann had washed out from the police force in the Cleveland suburb of Independence. Loehmann had "dismal" handgun performance, broke down in tears at the gun range and was emotionally immature, according to files. He quit the force before he could be fired.

Two Cleveland police officers have been disciplined for failing to check Loehmann's personnel file before he was hired in Cleveland last year.

After Monday's announcement, Tamir's family charged that McGinty improperly hired use of-force experts to tell the grand jury that Loehmann's actions were reasonable. The family also said that the prosecutor allowed the officers to read prepared statements to the grand jury without being subjected to cross-examination.

McGinty urged those who disagree with the grand jury decision to react peacefully, and said: "It is time for the community and all of us to start to heal."

State Sen. Sandra Williams, a Cleveland Democrat, called the decision a "grave miscarriage of justice" but pleaded with the community to remain focused on positive change and "avoid falling into the traps that have hampered progress and the broader movement of social equality."


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