It’s been more than five months since 12-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann and yet it seems little has changed since that tragic day. The criminal investigation is ongoing, the family is still seeking justice and their little boy has yet to be laid to rest.
As the family continues dealing with a tragedy that struck back in November of 2014, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is asking them to even further delay their pursuit of justice in a move that the family insists will hinder their federal civil rights lawsuit.
The city requested that the family halt their civil rights lawsuit until the criminal investigation of officer Loehmann is complete but the family filed a motion to oppose that request.
According to the family’s legal team, delaying the civil rights lawsuit process “poses the danger of prejudice both in terms of the loss of critical evidence and also in terms of added costs associated with securing that evidence.”
They also noted that it could cause many key witnesses’ memories to fade.
It is unclear how much longer the department will take to complete the investigation or why it has even taken this long for the evidence and facts of the case to be analyzed.
“Now, five months later, this investigation is still pending despite the incident being captured on video and published on the world wide web for public consumption and review,” the family’s motion reads. “In that video, it is clear that Tamir Rice was shot within a [sic] one second of the officers arrival and he was never given an opportunity to comply with any verbal commands (if they actually had been given).”
As the investigation continues to drag on, the Rice family says they are being forced to take on serious financial hardships.
“Plaintiffs are incurring expenses daily and are unsure if they can finally rest Tamir Rice due to the pending investigation,” the motion continues. “A stay would exacerbate this expense and emotional distress.”
The motion adds that Tamir Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, now lives in a homeless shelter after feeling she “could no longer live next door to the killing field of her son.”
Cleveland’s law department revealed that it will have the chance to respond to the family’s motion before a judge makes a decision on whether or not the lawsuit can move forward.
The original lawsuit was filed back in December before being amended in January after the family hired a new legal team.
The lawsuit now accuses the city, officer Loehmann, his partner Frank Garmback and 100 unknown 911 operators of violating the family’s rights in the fatal shooting that took Rice’s life.