On Saturday night, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office released two external reports that found the police officer who, within two seconds of exiting his patrol car, shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year acted “within the realm of reasonableness.”
The prosecutor’s office requested the outside reviews, conducted by a retired FBI agent and a Denver prosecutor, as it presents evidence to a grand jury that will decide whether Timothy Loehmann should be charged in Rice’s death. Both found that Loehmann had reason to perceive Rice as a serious threat, the Associated Press reports.
Rice had been described in a 911 call as a man waving a gun; in fact, he was holding a pellet gun, with some of the orange markings removed.* However, the New York Times points out, the 911 dispatcher did not pass on the caller’s statements that the gun was “probably fake” and its owner “probably a juvenile.”
In a statement, Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said that the reports’ release was part of an effort to be “as public and transparent as possible.” But a lawyer for the Rice family, Subodh Chandra, speculated as to other motivations.
“It is now obvious that the prosecutor’s office has been on a 12-month quest to avoid providing that accountability,” Chandra said. “To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash—when the world has the video of what happened—is all the more alarming,” Chandra said. “Who will speak for Tamir before the grand jury? Not the prosecutor, apparently.”
“We are not reaching any conclusions from these reports,” McGinty said. “The gathering of evidence continues, and the grand jury will evaluate it all.”