Judge Finds Probable Cause For Murder Charge Against Officer Who Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice
An Ohio judge said on Thursday that there was probable cause to charge Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann with murder for the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
According to Cleveland.com, Judge Ronald Adrine of Cleveland Municipal Court found grounds to charge Loehmann with manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty in Rice’s death.
Adrine also found probable cause to charge officer Frank Garmback, Loehmann’s partner who was present at Rice’s shooting, with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.
In November 2014, Officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed Rice, who was playing in a park with a toy pellet gun.
The judge’s decision comes days after a group of local clergy and activists filed affidavits independently seeking charges brought against the officers. They claimed to have lost confidence in the grand jury investigation because local prosecutors had yet to review Rice’s death.
This motion, which is known as an “affidavit of person having knowledge of offense,” centers on the security video of the shooting that has been widely distributed.
In a 10-page ruling, Judge Aldrine wrote that the surveillance video, which shows Rice being shot by Loehmann within two seconds of his arrival, was “hard to watch,” stating that he was “”thunderstruck by how quickly this turned deadly.”
He also added that Tamir was given “little to no time” to react to the commands of the officers, and he also made no “furtive movement.”
“Literally, the entire encounter is over in an instant,” the judge wrote.
He also noted that it appears Tamir was left to lie wounded on the ground for eight minutes with no indication of anyone trying to help him as Loehmann and Garmback look on and at least six other officers later arrive at the scene.
The judge’s decision was passed on to city prosecutors and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, who stated that the decision of whether or not the officers should be charged will be decided by a grand jury.
“This case, as with all other fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go to the grand jury,” said McGinty in a statement. “That has been the policy of this office since I was elected. Ultimately, the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged.”
The petitioners, however, argue that the statute allows ordinary citizens to bypass the police and prosecutors and force arrest if probable cause of a crime being committed is shown.
Though the judge said there is probable cause for charges to be filed against the officers, he also stated that there is a conflict between the law and the rules laid down by the State Supreme Court.
Therefore, his role can only remain “advisory in nature,” and he’s not able to issue warrants without a prosecutor’s complaint.
[Image via Raw Story]