Tamir Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police in Cleveland, Ohio, in November 2014 (Picture: Rice family)
The family of a 12 year-old black boy shot dead by police want help from Joe Biden after US government prosecutors refused to charge the officers involved.
Tamir Rice’s mother told of her outrage as the US DoJ – which has the authority to prosecute – said there was insufficient evidence to move forward with her son’s case. Schoolboy Tamir was shot dead by rookie cop, Timothy Loehmann, in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 22, 2014 after being seen playing with a replica gun in a playground.
Samaria Rice, 44, says she is ‘appalled’ by the decision and has pledged to launch an appeal against the ruling at the end of January when Joe Biden is sworn into office.
Speaking to metro.co.uk Samaria from Cleveland, Ohio, said: ‘They told me they could not move forward because the video quality was not good enough. We have had an overwhelming lack of support from the Department of Justice.
‘It feels like a slap in the face and completely disrespectful. The last few years have been a difficult struggle and I feel numb now, it’s unbelievable that another human being can get away with this.
Tamir Rice’s death sparked outrage around the world (Picture: Rice family)
Tamir mother, Samaria Rice, pictured centre, has pledged to continue fighting for her son’s case (Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
‘I don’t understand how they can say the video doesn’t provide enough evidence because it’s not clear, they must be the only people on earth who think that.
‘I am appalled by this but I do believe that some sort of justice will be served, I am very hopeful of that.
‘We hope to appeal the decision at the end of January and we are working on a petition. We hope to take it all the way to the Supreme Court or Congress.
‘We will wait until the new administration comes in and we will appeal the decision then. We want a review for going ahead with federal charges.
‘We will keep fighting for Tamir and we are still very hopeful of getting justice for his murder.’
The Department of Justice (DoJ) announced last week that federal criminal charges will not be brought against Loehmann, who fatally shot Tamir in 2014, and his partner, Frank Garmback, citing a lack of evidence.
A screenshot of a video shown by the Cleveland Police department that allegedly shows Tamir Rice in a city park walking around pointing a gun that turned out to be a toy (Picture: Cleveland Ohio Police Department)
This fake handgun taken from 12-year-old Tamir Rice (Picture: AP)
The ruling brought to a close a five-year federal investigation into the actions of the officers following the shooting, and the DoJ said ‘grainy’ video footage of the incident was ‘not enough to show that the officer made a mistake’.
Tamir was killed after police responded to a call about someone waving a ‘probably fake’ gun at a playground in Cleveland. Police said that the boy did not make any verbal threats but grabbed the replica gun in his waistband, and was subsequently shot from point-blank range by officer Loehmann within two seconds of his arrival at the scene.
In 2015, a grand jury in Cuyahoga County decided not to charge Loehmann with any wrong-doing under state law, a decision that prompted the Rice family to ask for a federal civil-rights investigation by the Justice Department.
The investigation stagnated under under the Obama’s presidency and in 2019, two career prosecutors in the Justice Department’s civil rights division were denied permission to use a grand jury for witness testimonies.
Announcing its decision not to pursue charges against Loehmann or Garmback, the DoJ said in a statement that they could not say for sure that the officers ‘willfully violated Tamir’s civil rights’, reports CNN.
The DoJ has decided against pursuing charges against the officers involved in Tamir’s shooting (Picture: AP)
Tamir’s death prompted widespread outrage and protests (Picture: Getty)
The statement said: ‘This high legal standard — one of the highest standards of intent imposed by law — requires proof that the officer acted with the specific intent to do something the law forbids.
‘It is not enough to show that the officer made a mistake, acted negligently, acted by accident or mistake, or even exercised bad judgment.
‘… an officer is permitted to use deadly force where he reasonably believes that the suspect posed an imminent threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others.’
Prosecutors also looked at CCTV evidence from the incident as well as officer statements and witness interviews but concluded that the video footage was grainy and didn’t show all of the incident or provide enough detail.
Samaria claims no one from the DoJ contacted her to inform her of the ruling and said she found out via a media report.
The US Justice Department announced December 30, 2020 it will not charge the Cleveland police officers who fatally shot Tamir Rice (Picture: Rice family)
She added: ‘We want justice not only for us, but for every other family who has suffered like we have. There was a lot of injustice in 2020 and justice for Tamir will be helpful for them too.
‘We are working on our appeal and we feel good about it.
‘Tamir should have turned 18 in June and he should have graduated from high school. I am furious and mad at the decision and we will keep fighting.’
Following Tamir’s tragic death Samaria launched the Tamir Rice Foundation and offers young people with opportunities to broaden their horizons.
For more information on the Tamir Rice Foundation, click here.