The US Justice Department has announced that it would not be bringing federal criminal charges against two officers involved in the fatal 2014 shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in an Ohio park.
Rice was shot and killed outside of a recreation center by then-Cleveland police Officer Timothy Loehmann after he mistook a black, toy airsoft pistol for a real gun.
“In order to establish a federal civil rights violation, the government would have to prove that Officer Loehmann’s actions were unreasonable under the circumstances, and that his actions were willful,” federal attorneys said. ” … an officer is permitted to use deadly force where he reasonably believes that the suspect posed an imminent threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others. “
Jonathan Abady, the attorney for Tamir Rice’s family, told CNN that Rice’s mother, Samaria, is beside herself with grief and disappointment.
“This case involves the totally unjustified shooting of a 12-year-old child,” he said. “This is part of a problem that we’ve been living with as a society for as long as anyone can remember, that is the unjustified excessive use of force by police officers against people of color. And the idea that people would not be held accountable for this is really more than upsetting.”
The city of Cleveland settled a federal wrongful death lawsuit in April 2016 with the Rice family for $6 million.