The officers involved in the shooting death of Tamir Rice invoked their 5th Amendment rights and refused to answer questions in front of the grand jury, Rice family attorneys say.
Attorneys at The Chandra Law Firm LLC said officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback read prepared, unsworn statements and did not answer questions.
In a letter to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, the attorneys claimed the officers are now required to answer questions on cross-examination.
The letter read in part:
Under longstanding Supreme Court precedent, by testifying under oath about their
conduct toward 12-year-old Tamir, the officers have now waived their Fifth Amendment right to be silent in the grand-jury proceeding on that subject: a witness can “not take the stand to testify in [his] own behalf and also claim the right to be free from cross-examination on matters raised by [his] own testimony on direct examination. As the Supreme Court has explained, every “witness has the choice, after weighing the advantage of the privilege against self-incrimination against the advantage of putting forward his version of the facts and his reliability as a witness, not to testify at all.” Id. But the witness “cannot reasonably claim that the Fifth Amendment gives him not only this choice but, if he elects to testify, an immunity from crossexamination on the matters he has himself put in dispute. It would make of the Fifth Amendment not only a humane safeguard against judicially coerced self-disclosure but a positive invitation to mutilate the truth a party offers to tell.”
Attorneys asked that the officers be brought back into the grand jury hearing to answer additional questions.
Earlier this week newsnet5.com reported that both officers wrote in their statements that Tamir reached for his waistband and that they yelled at him to show his hands before Loehmann shot him twice.
A grand jury is meeting now about the shooting, in which the 12-year-old brandishing a pellet gun was fatally shot at a Cleveland recreation center just over a year ago.