‘All I wanted was someone to be held accountable,’ says Tamir Rice’s mother. ‘But this entire process was a charade.’
Outrage was palpable in Cleveland and beyond following Monday’s shocking non-indictment of two police officers in the 2014 shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
In a statement provided to New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, Rice family attorney Jonathan Abady called the decision “a catastrophic and pernicious miscarriage of justice.”
“All the family wanted was fairness and accountability,” Abady said. “They got neither.”
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced Monday afternoon that an Ohio grand jury had opted not to indict officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback in the shooting, which took place on November 22, 2014 in a park where Rice was playing with a pellet gun.
By choosing not to indict Loehmann and Garmback, the grand jury “put an exclamation point on the statement that black lives don’t matter,” Kirsten West Savali wrote at The Root on Monday. “That black children do not matter. That being young, black and free is a crime punishable immediately by death.”
She continued: “When I see photos of Tamir, husky and bright-eyed, smiling that mischievous grin, I am reminded of my eldest son, his innocence and awkwardness encased in a large 10-year-old frame that causes passers-by to remark on his size. I am reminded that to me and his father, he is our baby, but to cops like Loehmann and Garmback, he is guilty of existing until proved otherwise.”
“I am reminded, again, that justice in this country looks like dead black children and the free white cops who kill them,” Savali wrote. “It always has.”
In the wake of the decision, the grand jury process and U.S. justice system are under fire both from Rice’s family and observers across the country.
Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said in a statement Monday that “this process demonstrates that race is still an extremely troubling and serious problem in our country and the criminal-justice system.”
Describing her family as “in pain and devastated” by the outcome, Samaria Rice continued:
I don’t want my child to have died for nothing and I refuse to let his legacy or his name be ignored. We will continue to fight for justice for him, and for all families who must live with the pain that we live with.
As the video shows, Officer Loehmann shot my son in less than a second. All I wanted was someone to be held accountable. But this entire process was a charade.
She reiterated the family’s call for the federal Department of Justice to investigate the case, a demand echoed by the Cleveland branch of the Anti-Defamation League.
In a statement, the group’s director, Anita Gray, said: “Public safety—everywhere—requires trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect.”
In addition, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will speak about the Rice case at an 11:30 a.m. press conference that will be live-streamed here.
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