Attorneys for Rice family ask DOJ to intervene

Posted at 1:20 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 13:20:12-05

The attorneys for the Tamir Rice family wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Tuesday, asking that the agency investigate the boy's shooting death as well as Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty's handling of the case.

In the letter, the attorneys assert that McGinty has "abdicated his responsibility to conduct a fair and impartial investigation and has severely compromised the grand jury process." 


Earlier this month, the officers involved in the November 2012 fatal shooting testified in front of the grand jury. Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback both wrote in their statementsthat Tamir reached for his waistband and that they yelled at him to show his hands before Loehmann fired.

The Rice family attorneys have since released expert reports in response to those grand jury statements, one of which said Tamir had his hands in his pockets when he was shot and wasn't reaching for the pellet gun he was carrying, as previously reported. 

In the letter to the DOJ, the attorneys allege that two of those experts were "shocked by the hostile, unprofessional and unfair questioning," they received while testifying in the case last week.

Calling the handling of the case a "miscarriage of justice," the attorneys end the letter stating that a "federal intervention is called for."

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office issued this statement following the release of the letter:

These plaintiff's attorneys have spent months trying to inflame the media and the public with repeated, often inaccurate statements lobbying for their desired outcome. But when it comes to discussing what goes on inside any Grand Jury room,  attorneys know our hands are tied. As prosecutors, we are not permitted to discuss the testimony given to any Grand Jury. This means the news media can receive a one-sided version of the story from lawyers who were not there. Any witness who appears before any Grand Jury is treated with respect but should expect thorough questioning from prosecutors and the grand jurors themselves.