Tim McGinty, the prosecutor of Ohio’s Cuyahoga County announced Monday that the grand jury has declined to bring criminal charges against Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the police officers who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on December 22, 2014 outside of a local recreational center.
Samaria Rice, the child’s mother, had been informed of the decision prior to the press conference.
Rice had been playing in a snowy field near his home with a pellet gun when someone in the neighborhood called the authorities to make a complaint. Within moments of being approached by the police who assumed that the pellet gun was actually an armed weapon, they shot the child to the ground and detained his older sister, Tajai, when she tried to intervene and find her brother after she found out he was shot.
As expected, McGinty made various insensitive and victim-blaming remarks about Rice regarding his death. McGinty repeatedly claimed that the boy’s size suggested that he was older than his age, despite the fact that the person who made the complaint to authorities suggested that Rice was a minor.
McGinty also argued that if Rice’s pellet gun had looked more like a toy, he wouldn’t have been killed, and referred to the shooting incident as “a perfect storm for human error.” Most bizarre of all, the prosecutor claimed that the victim could have been anyone, even his own son or grandson—as if his own White privilege (and privilege of being in the police department) didn’t bar anything of the sort from happening.
The local community has had a long battle in the Tamir Rice case thus far. There was already a delay in the proceedings because the prosecutor had previously failed to give the grand jury all of the necessary information to secure the indictment that many were looking for in Rice’s death.