An Ohio grand jury decided on Monday not to indict two officers involved in a 2014 shooting [Washington Post report] resulting in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In November 2014 officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback were dispatched to investigate an emergency call about a “guy with a gun” pulling a weapon from his waistband and pointing it at people. Loehman shot Rice, who had removed a pellet gun from his waistband as the officers approached. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor [official website] Tim McGinty stated [CNN report] that Rice’s size, as well as the fact that the gun looked real and was missing its orange safety tip made it reasonable to believe that the officer believed Rice was a threat. In response, the boy’s family accused the prosecutor’s office of sabotaging the case and acting more like a defense attorney for the officers. Now that the criminal investigation is completed, police officials will conduct an administrative review of the shooting to determine if police procedures were violated. Furthermore, a federal review of the case is ongoing and the Rice family can pursue the matter in civil court.
Police use of force has been a controversial issue across the US recently. In September Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams rejected motions [JURIST report] to drop charges against six police officers implicated in the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who was injured in police custody and later died in April. Earlier this year Judge Edgar Dickson of the South Carolina Circuit Court declared a mistrial [JURIST report] in the murder case against a former police chief for the 2011 killing of an unarmed black man. After a grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] the Ferguson police officer in the shooting of Micheal Brown [USA Today timeline], there was a large uproar from the Ferguson community that led to mass protests and violence in some instances. The American Civil Liberties Union published a report [JURIST report] in response arguing that increased militarization of police forces is putting citizens at risk rather than protecting them.