Ohio prosecutor won't release Tamir Rice grand jury testimony

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Cleveland NAACP Asks for Grand Jury Documents in Tamir Rice Case

An Ohio prosecutor has rebuffed a request by the Cleveland branch of the NAACP for the release of grand jury testimony in the police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, saying it would put those on the jury at risk of threats.

In response, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Vice President James Hardiman said Thursday the group was disappointed by the decision and would file a motion with the judge who presided over the grand jury to release the testimony.

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement late Wednesday the NAACP were taking issue with the grand jury secrecy only because the group disagreed with the decision not to charge the officers involved in the November 2014 shooting.

The NAACP had sent a letter to McGinty's office earlier on Wednesday requesting that the grand jury testimony be made public in a case that was one of several nationwide that has fueled scrutiny and outrage over the use of deadly force by police against minorities. Rice was black and the officers involved are white.

"Grand jury secrecy is designed to allow grand jurors and witnesses to perform their legal duties without fear of retaliation or recrimination," McGinty said, and releasing the testimony would set a "dangerous precedent" and violate the law.

RELATED GALLERY: See photos of Tamir Rice and protests surrounding his death

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Tamir Rice, 12yo boy shot by Cleveland police
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Ohio prosecutor won't release Tamir Rice grand jury testimony
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)
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)
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"To subject the grand jury to the hate mail and death threats this case has generated would be unwise and unfair," he added.

McGinty said his office has been more open on investigations of police shootings, but written investigative reports issued to the public on such incidents are separate from grand jury proceedings.

"The prosecutor said the grand jury is supposed to be secret but not all of it was," NAACP's Hardiman said. "He chose the bits and pieces to release to the public and we think he should now release all the bits and pieces."

McGinty has been criticized for the release of multiple reports before the grand jury decision that found the shooting "reasonable." A coalition of Cleveland African-American leaders has called for his ouster in upcoming elections in November.

A grand jury last month declined to bring criminal charges against officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.

Loehmann shot 12-year-old Rice within seconds of arriving at the park. Rice died the following day and an investigation revealed that a gun he was seen holding was a replica that shoots plastic pellets.

The police department announced an administrative review after the grand jury decision to determine whether the officers or others should be disciplined.

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