Society and Culture
Grand Jury Declines Criminal Charges for Officers in Tamir Rice Shooting
After more than a year of investigating, a grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio, declined Wednesday to charge two officers who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014.
Rice was killed outside of a recreational center after officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback mistook his toy pellet gun for a real weapon.
In an afternoon press conference announcing the verdict, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty called the shooting a “perfect storm of human error.” McGinty credited a recent enhancement of the surveillance video of the shooting with the jury’s decision, claiming the close up was “indisputable evidence” that Tamir was drawing the toy gun from his waistband as officer Loman exited the police car.
The initial surveillance footage showing officer Loman shooting Rice just seconds after arriving on scene became a major rallying point for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Further investigation into the 911 call also revealed that the caller told the dispatcher that the gun was “probably fake” and held by a “juvenile.”
Both the verdict and McGiny’s explantation of the ruling offended many users on social media who were seeking justice for the slain child. Under the trending hashtag #TamirRice thousands of people began publicly voicing their disapproval.
We’re told the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. So who stops a bad cop with a gun? #TamirRice
— seasonal spice (@goldengateblond) December 28, 2015
McGinty asked the community to “respect the process” – a process which does not, and has never, respected them. #TamirRice
— laura louise (@LauraLBishop) December 28, 2015
I’m exhausted… #TamirRice
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) December 28, 2015
It’s easy to see where their outrage comes from, when an institutional bias toward black men makes them statistically more likely to be killed by police.
Research has shown that police shootings are disproportionately skewed towards young black males. Movements like #BlackLivesMatter have helped to educate the public on this disgustingly inhumane trend, but still each month more black men are killed by those sworn to serve and protect them.
Accidents do happen, but making these officers accountable for their actions is a necessary step in fixing the problem.