The weight of this is too much to bear. This time, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, was killed for carrying a toy gun, but it seemed like someone might be punished. We’ve seen the video, no sane person can defend this death. But they did; they refused to indict. It was “reasonable.”
So we’re not having much luck with getting gun violence under control. Maybe we concentrate on outlawing toy guns:
You can shoot a child in an open park. You can lie about the incident. You can refuse to cooperate with investigators. You can, if a Cuyahoga County prosecutor and grand jury are to be believed, escape indictment even when the entire episode is captured on videotape.
It has been 13 months since Rice was gunned at a Cudell Recreation Center last winter. He was carrying a toy gun, playing imagery games in the snow Nov. 22, 2014, when someone dialed 911 to report a “guy with a gun.” The dispatcher was advised that the “gun” was likely a toy.
Authorities promised a full and fair investigation. In the end, after months of fact-finding, a grand jury refused to indict Officer Loehmann or his partner Frank Garmback, even though the shooting was initially ruled a homicide.
Loehmann shot Rice once in the torso. But that wasn’t his only misdeed that night. Even after he and Garmback realized their mistake—after it dawned on them that Rice was a child, not a “guy,” armed with a toy, not a “gun”—neither man rendered medical aid, as the boy lay mortally wounded on the concrete.When Rice’s older sister struggled to get to his side, they handcuffed and stuffed her into the back of their cruiser— rather than address her with the compassion she deserved. And, while Tamir lay dead in the morgue, the officers filed criminal charges against him.
During a press conference Monday, Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said he recommended that the panel decline to indict. McGinty claims that the officer’s actions were “not criminal,” but the result of “a perfect storm of errors.”
The grand jury, which has been meeting since October, agreed with McGinty.
But, who can believe the words of a man who once accused a grieving mother of attempting to profit from their child’s death?
“The law gives the benefit of the doubt to the officer who must make split-second decisions,” he told reporters, “when they reasonably believe their lives or those of innocent bystanders are in danger.”
“The Supreme Court,” McGinty proclaimed, “prohibits second-guessing police tactics.”
Throughout the Monday press conference, McGinty repeatedly referred to a “guy with a gun.” That “guy” was a boy who hadn’t been on his first date yet, never kissed a girl and now will never get married or have children of his own. He didn’t get the benefit of the doubt. Rice will not get a second chance or the opportunity to second-guess the actions of that officer.