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A grand jury has decided not to bring charges against a white policeman over the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Ohio prosecutor Tim McGinty called the events that led to the death of Tamir Rice a “perfect storm of human error”.

However, Tim McGinty said it was not unreasonable for the officer to fear for his life.

Public officials in Cleveland on December 28 urged the public to remain calm and to protest peacefully.

State Senator Sandra Williams said any unrest would hamper progress but still called the decision a “grave miscarriage of justice”.

The announcement comes at a time when the deaths of black men at the hands of police have sparked a national debate.Grand jury decision Tamir Rice case

Tamir Rice was carrying a non-lethal pellet gun when police approached him in Cleveland in November 2014, in response to a 911 call reporting a man waving and pointing a gun at people.

The caller said the gun may not be real and the perpetrator could be a juvenile.

Tim McGinty, who announced the grand jury’s decision on December 28, faulted the emergency services dispatcher for not relaying that information to the officers.

Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback have said the gun looked real and urged Tamir Rice to raise his hands three times.

Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir Rice twice after the boy pulled the gun from his waistband.

The officers said they believed Tamir Rice was older than 12. He weighed about 175lbs and stood 5ft 7in tall.

The toy gun lacked an orange safety tip and Tim McGinty urged toy manufactures to stop making replicas that look like real guns.

Tamir Rice’s family has said police fired too quickly and should have used a Taser, a non-lethal weapon.

Footage from a surveillance camera shows Timothy Loehmann firing moments after police arrived at the scene.

Although the officers’ actions were not criminal, Tim McGinty said Cleveland had learned from the shooting.

“It should never happen again, and the city has taken steps so it doesn’t,” Tim McGinty said.


Recent controversial killings by US police:

March 2014: James Boyd, an unarmed homeless man camping in Alberquerque, is shot dead by two officers. Video of the incident leads prosecutors to say the officers acted with “deliberate intention” and they are charged.

July 2014: Eric Garner, an asthma sufferer, is stopped by police in New York and placed in a chokehold after refusing to be handcuffed. He dies despite repeatedly telling officers he cannot breathe. No police are charged.

August 2014: Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, is shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting leads to protests, first in Ferguson and later nationwide. A grand jury decides not to charge Darren Wilson.Black men killed by cops

November 2014: Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, is shot dead in a playground by Cleveland police after a local resident reports he is pointing a gun at passers by. The gun turns out to be a toy. A grand jury will decide whether police will face charges.

December 2014: Jerame Reid, 36, is shot dead during a routine traffic stop in New Jersey. An officer claims Jerame Reid was reaching for a gun, but video footage seems to suggest he was attempting to step out of the car, hands raised.

April 2015: Walter Lamer Scott, 50, is shot eight times in South Carolina as he runs away from Officer Michael Slager. Walter Scott dies at the scene. The shooting is captured on video and Michael Slager is charged with murder.


Thousands of people have protested in Washington DC against the recent killings of unarmed black people by police.

Relatives of Michael Brown, shot dead in the Missouri town of Ferguson, and Eric Garner, who died being restrained in New York, were among them.

Both died after encountering police, but grand juries decided not to bring charges, sparking anger and unrest.

Another demonstration in New York also drew thousands despite chilly weather.

Speakers at the Capitol called for changes to US legislation.

Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, told the crowd: “What a sea of people. If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do. Thank you for having my back.”

The mood in Washington DC was described as calm but defiant, with a large number of police on standby.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Earlier in the day, a small group of protesters from Missouri disrupted the schedule by taking to the stage at the starting-point, on Freedom Plaza, and blowing a bullhorn.

They complained that the protest, which was organized by long-established civil rights groups, was staid and ineffective.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead on August 9 during an altercation with a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Eric Garner, 43, died while being held down by a white police officer on July 17.

He had been challenged over the alleged sale of loose cigarettes on a street in Staten Island, New York.

The event was caught on camera and his dying plea of “I can’t breathe” has become a slogan of the protesters. It echoes the adoption of “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” – a Ferguson refrain alleging that Michael Brown was surrendering to police when the fatal shots were fired.

Relatives of three other black people killed in controversial shootings were also expected to attend the march, according to the National Action Network:

  • Akai Gurley, 28, was shot dead by New York police on November 20
  • Tamir Rice, 12, was shot dead in a Cleveland, Ohio, park on November 22 while carrying a pellet gun
  • Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot dead on February 26, 2012, by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida

Marchers crowded Pennsylvania Avenue for the walk from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol, but the actual numbers were not immediately clear.

Some in the crowd, which was made up of both black and white people, held banners saying: “Stop racist police”, “I can’t breathe”, and “President Obama seize this moment. The ancestors are watching.”

The Rev Al Sharpton, a leading civil rights advocate, called for “legislative action that will shift things both on the books and in the streets”.

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Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy shot by Cleveland police, was told to show his hands three times by officers before they opened fire, a senior officer says.

Tamir Rice, whom the officers appeared to believe was much older, was shot twice and later died in hospital.

Cleveland police has released video and audio recordings of the incident.

CCTV video shows Tamir Rice pointing the toy gun at a passer-by from the playground where he was shot, which prompted a 911 emergency call.

Recordings of radio communications reveal a police officer at the scene describing Tamir Rice as aged “maybe 20” after the shooting.

A separate recording appears to confirm the officers were not told the gun might be fake.

Cleveland police said on November 26 that the family had given permission for CCTV recordings of the shooting to be released.

The footage shows Tamir Rice walking around a playground with a replica gun clearly in his hand.

Minutes later, a police car drives up and stops immediately next to him.

Chief Officer Edward Tomba said that the car door was open when the officers arrived, and that they had ordered the boy to show his hands three times as the car pulled up alongside.

Tamir Rice was then shot and fatally wounded.

In a recording immediately after the incident, a police officer is heard saying: “Shots fired, male down, black male, maybe 20.”

A recording of the call from the operator to police officers as they were dispatched to the scene appears to confirm that there was no mention of a replica gun.

The operator describes the incident as “a black male sitting on the swings, keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people”.

An audio recording of the 911 emergency call had previously revealed that the caller had said the gun was “probably a fake” on two occasions, before adding he was not sure whether it was “real or not”.

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Cleveland police shot dead a 12-year-old boy after carrying what turned out to be a replica gun in a playground.

The medical examiner for Cuyahoga County identified the boy as Tamir Rice.

Police say an officer fired two shots at Tamir Rice after he failed to obey an order to raise his hands.

A caller reported the boy to police for scaring people with a gun but said that he did not know if it was real.

One of the officers was in his first year on the local force, the other had more than 10 years of experience.

Tamir Rice was shot on Saturday afternoon and died in hospital early on Sunday morning.

Cleveland deputy police chief Ed Tomba said Tamir Rice was shot twice after pulling the gun from the waistband of his trousers.

The boy did not make any verbal threats nor point the gun towards the officers, Ed Tomba added.

Police said the weapon was an “airsoft” replica gun that resembled a semi-automatic pistol, adding that an orange safety indicator had been removed.

The caller said the boy was pulling the gun in and out of his trousers.

“I don’t know if it’s real or not,” the caller told police.

Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland police association, said the two officers at the scene were not told about the caller’s comments.

An investigation is under way and both officers have been placed on administrative leave.

He says there have already been calls for tighter controls on fake guns, with one local lawmaker – Alicia Reece – saying she intends to introduce legislation that would require fake guns sold in Ohio to be brightly colored.

Cleveland’s police force has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, most notably over a high-profile car chase in 2012 that ended with two deaths and officers firing 137 shots.

The US Justice Department is currently conducting an investigation of the force’s pursuit and use-of-force practices.

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