Lawyers for the family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot dead by police who mistook his toy gun for a real one, have presented damning reports from former police officers who condemn the actions of the Cleveland Police Department.
According to The New York Times, the reports presented Saturday, contradict three previous investigations from local prosecutors which ruled the shooting justified. The new reports were produced by two former California law enforcement officials.
In his report, Jeffrey J. Noble, a former deputy police chief in Irvine, Calif., stated both officers mishandled the situation and put themselves in jeopardy. Video footage shows a police cruiser, driven by Officer Frank Garmback, pulling up alongside Rice. Officer Tim Loehmann fired his gun within two seconds of the car arriving on the scene.
It’s disturbing to note that while Rice was shot within seconds of the police arriving, Robert Lewis Dear, a white man who carried out a terrorist attack against a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic last week, killed three people, including a police officer, and was taken alive. Police engaged in a standoff that lasted several hours before persuading Dear to surrender.
Noble said the Cleveland police officers violated standard procedure when they confronted Rice.
“The officers engaged in reckless tactical decision making, they unreasonably placed themselves in harm’s way, and Officer Loehmann’s use of deadly force was excessive, objectively unreasonable and inconsistent with generally accepted police practices,” wrote Noble.
Noble and former sheriff’s Lt. Roger A. Clark’s reports both contradict previous reports.
“The killing of this child was completely avoidable and preventable,” wrote Clark, “and should never have occurred.”
The Times reported lawyers for Tamir Rice’s family have been critical of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty’s handling of the case and have requested he step aside for a special prosecutor. Prosecutors are often reluctant to indict officers who they work closely with. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch has not prosecuted a police shooting in 23 years on the job, according to The Washington Post. A grand jury decided not to prosecute Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson over the shooting of Michael Brown.
Grand jurors will consider evidence provided by both sets of reports before deciding whether to file charges against Garmback and Loehmann.