announced in December that it was officially closing its five-year inquiry into the tragic case without pursuing charges against Cleveland officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the Rice family was shocked.
They were distraught, among other reasons, that they learned the news in the media. The Justice Department had failed to provide updates throughout the case and failed to inform the family of its final decision. The Friday protest is a renewed demand for accountability, "for the past and current failures" of the local and federal justice system, and part of a revived campaign to seek #JusticeForTamir via new legal appeals.
"Tamir Rice’s murder was — and is — a touchstone for global debate about racial injustice in the United States," a press statement announcing the protest affirmed, "and Tamir has become one of the most important figures in the quest for justice for Black Lives cut short by police violence."
The 12-year-old Tamir was shot in the stomach while playing with a toy gun at Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014 by officer Timothy Loehmann, who fired his weapon instantly upon arrival at the Cudell gazebo in a police cruiser driven by Garmback. The city of Cleveland settled the case for $6 million in 2016.
Federal charges could have been brought if the Justice Department deemed there was sufficient evidence that the officers denied the civil rights of Tamir or that they obstructed justice. Both the Rice family lawyer, Subodh Chandra, and other legal experts said they believed that there was ample evidence to pursue a grand jury investigation, but that "politics trump[ed] the law."
Demonstrators will meet at 2:30 p.m. at Fort Huntington Park, the small green space at Lakeside and West 3rd, across from the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.
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