Sunday, October 11, 2015

overseer execution of tamir rice was reasonable?


cleveland |  The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office released reports Saturday from two experts in use of force by police who concluded that the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland officer was "tragic" and "heartbreaking," but reasonable given that the officer believed the boy to be armed.

The reviews are the first of many sought by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty as his office prepares to present to a grand jury the case that thrust Cleveland into the heart of an ongoing national conversation on police violence.

Retired Virginia FBI agent Kimberly Crawford and Denver-area District Attorney S. Lamar Sims, nationally renowned experts on police use-of-force issues, each stressed that they did not look at whether Loehmann or his partner Frank Garmback violated Ohio laws, made tactical mistakes or broke with department policy in the moments leading up to the shooting.

They only examined the constitutionality of Loehmann's decision to open fire on the boy during their two-second encounter.

 "There can be no doubt that Rice's death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking," Sims wrote in a 52-page analysis. "However, I conclude that Officer Loehmann's belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat."

Both experts reviewed surveillance camera footage of the shooting and concluded that the fact that Tamir reached toward his waistband gave first-year officer Timothy Loehmann legal reason to consider him a threat and open fire Nov. 22 outside Cudell Recreation Center on the city's West Side.
To make that decision, Crawford and Sims said they could only use the information Loehmann knew at the moment he shot Tamir and not the boy's age or that the gun he carried was fake, two details that make the case unique among the dozens of use-of-force cases drawing scrutiny toward police forces across the United States. 

Neither Loehmann nor Garmback have given statements about the shooting, so the experts could only use what Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department investigators were able to uncover during their three-month investigation, handed over to McGinty's office in June.