CLEVELAND — The family of Tamir Rice, and Tamir's Campaign for Justice held a rally and march from Cleveland Public Square to the federal courthouse.
The march started just moments after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in the death of George Floyd.
The event took place on what would have been Tamir's 19th birthday. Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice, used the Chauvin sentencing as a backdrop to fight for additional justice for son, demanding the U.S. Department of Justice reopen the case against the two officers involved in her son's November 2014 shooting death.
In late 2020, federal prosecutors said they would not bring charges against the two officers involved. Prosecutors said video of the shooting was of such poor quality they couldn’t conclusively establish what happened.
Samaria Rice told those in attendance at the rally that Derek Chauvin should have been sentenced to more jail time in the death of George Floyd.
"Twenty-two years is not enough, but at least they gave him something, at least the family experienced some closure," Rice said.
“We’re honoring my son by doing a rally and march, and I’m advocating for the DOJ to reopen Tamir’s case. I want justice for my son, period, that is the message them, they need to do it right,” Rice said.
In April, the Rice family formally asked the U.S. Department of Justice to re-open the case, and in May, called on the Ohio Supreme Court to not let former Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann be reinstated.
On Nov. 22, 2014, Loehmann shot and killed the 12-year-old outside of Cudell Recreation Center after a person called 911 reporting seeing a person with a gun.
Latoya Goldsby, president of Black Lives Matter Cleveland, said hopefully the Chauvin sentencing will spark additional justice for Tamir Rice and his family.
“Derick Chauvin being sentenced on Tamir’s birthday is bittersweet, knowing that we have not yet received justice here in Cleveland," Goldsby said. “We demand the same kind of accountability here in Cleveland for the murder of Tamir Rice.”
Josiah Quarles with Tamir’s Campaign for Justice told News 5 the Chauvin sentencing is just a start in the systemic change needed when it comes to police use-of-force issues nationwide.
“This is about generational change, this about radically shifting the way that America deals with black and brown people," Quarles said. "Obviously nothing has changed for us right here, Cleveland is crying for Tamir right now. We’re here to support Ms. Rice in this moment, it’s very hard for her, it’s very hard for his family. It’s a step to see that there is some amount of accountability.”