Here Are the Ways Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Blamed Tamir Rice for His Own Death

Source: AP
Source: AP

A grand jury in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, decided not to indict Cleveland police officers for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. At the Monday press conference, prosecutor Tim McGinty referred to Rice's death as a "perfect storm of human error."

Shortly after, Rice's family issued a statement through its attorneys and said they were saddened and disappointed by the decision "but not surprised."

"It has been clear for months now that Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty was abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment," the Rice family's lawyers said in a statement. "It is unheard of and highly improper for a prosecutor to hire 'experts' to try to exonerate the targets of a grand jury investigation. These are the sort of 'experts' we would expect the officer's criminal defense attorney to hire — not the prosecutor."

In October, McGinty called on two outside experts to investigate the case, who said Officer Timothy Loehmann acted "reasonably" when he shot Rice. 

That "reasonable" defense was presented again at an announcement of the non-indictment, 13 months after Rice was killed on Nov. 22, 2014. 

Here are a few examples of how prosecutors and police blamed Rice for his own death:

1. Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Matthew Meyer said Rice was "big for his age."

Meyer said that Rice was "5-foot-7, weighted 175 pounds and wore a men's XL jacket," according to the Associated Press.

2. Rice's "unnamed associates" said he had played with the gun before.

At the presser, McGinty said it was "indisputable" that he was removing the gun from his waistband when he was shot.

Enhanced video was released this November, CNN reports, that showed 326 frames from two surveillance cameras and was presented to the grand jury. But in this example, Meyer continues his rhetoric about Rice's age by referring to likely other 12-year-olds as "unnamed associates." 

3. Prosecutors refuse to doubt police officers' side of the story.

4. Rice's pellet gun looked too much like a real gun because there was no plastic, orange tip.

"It would be irresponsible and unreasonable if law required a police officer to wait and see if the gun was real," McGinty said at the press conference

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Erin E. Evans

Erin E. Evans is a senior editor of The Movement at Mic.

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