Rice Experts: Officers didn't follow protocol

Posted at 10:36 PM, Dec 28, 2015

Members of ‘The Cleveland 8’ believe the proper protocol was not followed by Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback the day 12 year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed.

Criminal juvenile justice expert Edward Little told he believes the officer approached the scene too aggressively based on the information they received from their dispatcher.

"We can't understand how there could have been no charges whatsoever," said Little.

"In light of the fact that Tamir was sitting down on a park bench when they drove up. It should have given them some sort of pause to approach the situation in a different way based on the information they received."

Pastor Rainnell Vernon with Cleveland's The Word Church agreed the officers should have kept their distance if they thought there was an "active shooter" situation.

"They could have done a better job," said Vernon.  "They could have went slower, more methodically, and assessed the situation. There was no imminent danger.  I would have like to heard our prosecutor at least say, that there could have been better policing on that day."

Still Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty maintained the officers followed protocol when officers pulled up to the scene in Nov. 2014.

McGinty pointed to extensive "enhanced" video and photographs of the crime scene that he believes shows Rice reaching into his waistband.

Prosecutors also conceded that it "was unclear whether Tamir heard the warning by police" to put his hands in the air—but insisted that the law involved does not require police to be certain that a warning is heard if they believe their life is in danger.

In one crime scene photo, McGinty pointed to the weapon that was found on the sidewalk—strongly suggesting that Rice had reached for the gun and dropped it after he was shot.

In another example, McGinty pointed to video that he says shows the officers had retreated to a "defensive position" behind their police cruiser after Rice was shot because they had seen a weapon and continued to believe it was a real gun.