CLEVELAND — The family of Tamir Rice is calling for accountability after the Justice Department announced in late December 2020 that it would not bring federal criminal charges against the two Cleveland police officers involved in the 2014 killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Samaria Rice said she will be announcing a campaign to demand local and federal accountability during a rally and march at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at Fort Huntington Park, located across from the Justice Center.
Tamir was playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland on Nov. 22, 2014, when he was shot and killed by Officer Timothy Loehmann, who is white, seconds after Loehmann and his partner, Officer Frank Garmback, arrived on the scene.
In closing the case, the department brought to an end a long-running investigation into a high-profile shooting that helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement and that became part of the national dialogue about police use of force against minorities, including children. The decision, revealed in a lengthy statement, does not condone the officers’ actions but rather says the cumulative evidence was not enough to support a federal criminal civil rights prosecution.
To bring federal civil rights charges in cases like these, the Justice Department must prove that an officer’s actions willfully broke the law rather than being the result of a mistake, negligence or bad judgment. It has been a consistently tough burden for federal prosecutors to meet across both Democratic and Republican administrations, with the Justice Department declining criminal charges against police officers in other high-profile cases in recent years, including in the deaths of Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.