Today, a Cleveland grand jury declined to indict two Cleveland Police Department officers over the November 2014 killing of Tamir Rice, as reported by ClickOnDetroit.  We’ve posted repeatedly on the shooting of 12-year-old Rice by Cleveland police officers, including:

VIDEO: Shooting of Tamir Rice by Police Goes to Grand Jury (6/4/2015)

Cleveland Tries Out Baltimore Justice, Ignores Facts in Tamir Rice Shooting (6/11/2015)

Two Independent Reviews: Shooting of Tamir Rice “Reasonable” (10/11/2015)

The shooting was caught on surveillance camera, and presented what to us certainly appeared to be a pretty open-and-shut case of a justifiable use of force.

Tamir Rice, who while only 12 years old weighed a whopping 195 pounds (see autopsy report embedded at bottom of this post), was the subject of 911 cals reporting he was pointing an apparent gun at people.  (The gun would later turn out to be a pellet gun rather than a firearm.)  A patrol cars with two officers pulled up rapidly to Rice’s location, at which point Rice clearly reaches for the “gun” in his waistband. The officers respond to this reasonably perceived threat of deadly force by shooting and killing Rice.  (One of the 911 callers had reportedly told the operator that the gun appeared to be a fake, but this information was not passed on to the responding officers, who necessarily assumed the “gun” to be real.)

That video can be viewed here:

Immediately after the shooting the matter was removed form the purview of the Cleveland Police Department and placed into the hands of the independent Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s investigative unit.  After six months of investigation, they concluded there was no legal basis to bring charges against the officers.

Then things went sideways a bit, when community activists employed a rarely used Ohio procedural law that allowed anyone claiming “knowledge of the facts” of a case to request a judge to find probable cause of a crime. (There was, in fact, no indication that those seeking such a finding of probable cause possessed any particular knowledge not generally known to the public and investigators.) They convinced self-described activist Judge Ronald B. Adrine to issue a court order finding probable cause for a whole raft of charges against both officers, putting the matter in the hands of a grand jury.

In the meantime, two independent reviews of the case found no legal basis for criminal charges against the officers.

Finally, now the grand jury has now returned no true bill on the charges.

This would seem to be the end of the line for the Tamir Rice matter, but should something new arise you can be sure we’ll cover it here.

And here’s that autopsy report:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Attorney Andrew Branca and his firm Law of Self Defense have been providing internationally-recognized expertise in American self-defense law for almost 20 years in the form of blogging, books, live seminars & online training (both accredited for CLE), public speaking engagements, and individualized legal consultation.
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