The findings of two investigators into the case of Tamir Rice – the 12-year-old who was gunned down by Cleveland police in November 2014 after wielding a pellet gun – have concluded that the officer who delivered the deadly shots was “reasonable” in his actions. The reports of the “experts,” one a retired FBI agent, the other a Colorado prosecutor, were released by Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Timothy J. McGinty on Saturday night (Oct. 10).
“The question is not whether every officer would have reacted the same way,” Kimberly A. Crawford, the retired F.B.I. agent stated according to official documents. “Rather, the relevant inquiry is whether a reasonable officer, confronting the exact same scenario under identical conditions could have concluded that deadly force was necessary.”
Cleveland police officer Tim Loehmann was dispatched to the Cudell Recreation Center on November 22, 2014 after a witness called 911. Reportedly telling the 911 worker “There’s a guy in there with a pistol, you know, it’s probably fake, but he’s like pointing it at everybody,” the caller also noted that Rice appeared to be a “juvenile.” When Loehmann and his partner Frank Garmback arrived on the scene, they reportedly instructed Rice to drop his faux weapon, and he continued to brandish it. There was a reportedly two-second time lapse between the officers’ emergence from their vehicle and Rice’s death.
S. Lamar Sims, the Colorado prosecutor, concluded that while the incident was “heartbreaking,” Loehmann believed Rise “posed a threat of serious physical harm.”
“There can be no doubt that Rice’s death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking,” Sims writes in his report. “However, for all of the reasons discussed herein, I conclude that Officer Loehmann’s belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat.”
A grand jury is slated to decide whether Loehmann and Garmback will face charges.