Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty is standing in the way of justice for Tamir Rice.
Urge McGinty to step aside and request a special prosecutor:
It's been nearly a year since Cleveland police brutally killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice as he played in the park, and not one officer has been held accountable.1 It's despicable.
Despite more than enough evidence to file criminal charges, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty hasn't even presented the case to a grand jury. In June, a federal judge ruled that Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback should face murder charges for Tamir's killing, yet McGinty has chosen to disregard the ruling.2 Instead, he is going out of his way to defend the police, recently releasing two reports by discredited pro-police "experts" saying that Tamir's killing was "justified."3
We've seen this all before — and won't stand for it. Prosecutors are supposed to fight on behalf of victims, but when the victims are Black and police are the perpetrators, the vast majority of local prosecutors — who work closely with police on the day to day — fail to do their jobs.4 With enough public outrage, we can stop this cover-up in its tracks.
ACT: Join Tamir Rice's mother — Samaria Rice — in demanding a special prosecutor take over the prosecution of her son's killing.
There are few words to describe the horror of Tamir's killing. In a chilling video, the 12-year-old can be seen standing in the park, as Officers Loehmann and Garmback come speeding up in a police car, stopping just feet from Tamir as he stands in confusion.5 In less than 2 seconds, Officer Loehmann jumps out of the moving vehicle and fires two fatal shots. As Tamir lay dying, neither officer gave him CPR or first aid. When Tamir's 14-year-old sister came running over, Garmback and Loehmann violently tackled her to the ground and arrested her. Following Tamir's death, his family was forced to move to a homeless shelter because living next to the site of his murder was too painful.6
What happened to Tamir and his family is the story of what happens when prosecutors and police fail to hold abusive and discriminatory police accountable. In 2012, Officer Garmback was sued for chocking and beating a Black women, Tamela Eaton, who needed help towing a car out of her driveway.7 The case was settled for $100,000 but the incident was never included on Garmback's personnel file. And even the Cleveland Police Department admits that Officer Loehmann should have never been hired. His previous manager described him as emotionally unstable, "dismal" at handling a gun and unable to "follow simple directions."8 Four other municipal police departments refused to hire him before Cleveland did.
It's time to stop this vicious cycle of impunity. Demand a special prosecutor replace District Attorney McGinty before it's too late. #JusticeForTamir
Prosecutor McGinty's mistakes in handling this case are indefensible:
- Nearly one year later, and McGinty is still "investigating" — or rather, stalling. This type of delayed justice is denied justice, and Black families are disproportionately forced to suffer the agony of waiting months for the most basic forms of accountability. McGinty's failures are even more glaring when you compare his conduct with that of prosecutors who do their jobs and hold violent police accountable. Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged the police who killed Freddie Gray in less than 3 weeks after he was killed.9
- McGinty is acting like a defense attorney for Officers Loehmann and Garmback, instead of as Tamir's advocate. According to the Rice family lawyer, it is unprecedented for a prosecutor to call in "experts" to argue against the core issue of a case before it's even brought to trial.10 And the "experts" McGinty chose are not objective or independent; both have a long history of discredited pro-police bias. It's clear McGinty is using their testimony as political cover to let Tamir's killers off the hook in the coming weeks.
- McGinty is perpetuating the same systemic racism that took Tamir's life. Due to implicit racial bias, police officers are statistically more likely to shoot a Black person than a white person, including a 12-year-old child playing in the park.11 And last December, the federal government found a systemic pattern of police violence targeting Black residents in Cleveland.12 By failing to hold the police who killed Tamir Rice accountable, as well the officers who have killed other Cleveland residents, such as Tanisha Anderson, McGinty is allowing structural racism to continue unabated.13
Click here if you refuse to remain silent while Prosecutor McGinty tries to cover up the systemic anti-Black violence of Cleveland police.
Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Lyla and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.
1. "In Tamir Rice Case, Many Errors by Cleveland Police, Then a Fatal One," NYTimes 01-22-2015
2. "Cleveland judge finds probable cause for murder charge in Tamir Rice shooting," Washington Post 06-11-2015
3. "Tamir Rice family says prosecutor is biased, should step aside," Al Jazeera 10-16-2015
4. "Thousands Dead, Few Prosecuted" Washington Post 04-11-2015
5. "Re: Justice for Tamir Rice" Emery Celli Brinckerhoff and Abady LLP 10-16-2015
6. "As investigation enters fifth month, Tamir Rice’s mother has moved into a homeless shelter," Washington Post 05-04-2015
7. "Officer in Tamir Rice Case Was Accused of Choking and Beating a Woman," Mother Jones 06-03-2015
8. "8 months later, the Cleveland PD admits it was wrong to ever hire the officer who killed Tamir Rice," Daily Kos 07-20-2015
9. "Six officers charged in death of Freddie Gray" The Baltimore Sun 05-01-2015
10. See reference 5.
11. "The Science of Why Cops Shoot Young Black Men," Mother Jones 12-01-2014
12. "The DOJ’s jaw-dropping report about the Cleveland Police Department," Washington Post 12-05-2014
13. "'Black women unnamed': how Tanisha Anderson's bad day turned into her last," Guardian 06-05-2015
ColorOfChange is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.