A group of civil rights activists and clergy announced Tuesday they filed citizens' affidavits calling for the arrest of the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
The affidavits demand a Cleveland Municipal Court judge issue arrest warrants for Cleveland police officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann.
"We are still waiting for the criminal justice system to enact justice in the name of Tamir Rice," said the Rev. Jawanza Colvin, pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. "It has been more than six months since his tragic death and, yet, the people still have no answers and no one has been held accountable. Today, citizens are taking matters into their own hands utilizing the tools of democracy as an instrument of justice."
However, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, the decision is up to the Grand Jury.
"Once the investigation is complete—and in the death of Tamir Rice, it is not at this time—all evidence and expert analysis will be presented to the Grand Jury," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty. "The Grand Jury in Cuyahoga County, by the policy of the County Prosecutor's Office, ultimately makes the charging decision in all fatal use of deadly force cases that involve law enforcement officers."
Still, Ohio law allows anyone with “knowledge of the facts” to ask a judge to issue an arrest warrant, according to the New York Times.
If the request is approved, the arrest would be followed by a public hearing, the New York Times reports.
Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis wrote a letter to citizens Tuesday, saying that the group filing the affidavits are ignoring the facts. It read in part:
While these self-appointed leaders of our community continue to selfishly ignore the FACTS [sic] of this case, I will once again remind the same community of the decisions made by the United States Supreme Court and every lower court in the land. The FACT [sic] is that Police Officers are responsible for their actions based on the information they had AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT [sic] and NOT [sic] through 20/20 hindsight.
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