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Family Of Tamir Rice Criticizes Cleveland Police Practices

Samaria Rice (center) speaking at a previous press conference about the police shooting of her 12-year-old son, Tamir Rice. Attorney Benjamin Crump is on the right.
Nick Castele
/
WCPN
Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother is at the podium with Attorney Walter Madison on the left, Benjamin Crump is on the right, and Rice's father Leonard Warner behind them.";

Attorneys for the family of a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by Cleveland police are asking why it took weeks for the city to transfer its investigation to an outside agency. Police say Tamir Rice had been reaching toward an air gun in his waistband when an officer shot him in early November, less than two seconds after pulling up to him at a city park. The death has since been ruled a homicide, and it’s been one of the subjects of multiple protests and demonstrations against police violence in Ohio and nationwide.

Cleveland’s police chief said the gun’s appearance was indistinguishable from a more powerful pistol. Six weeks later, the city announced it would turn its investigation over to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff. Attorney Walter Madison says the family wants to know what happened in the interim.

“We’re not in the business of managing the city, but we are in the business of seeking justice for Tamir Rice, and there has been a six week delay—six weeks and three days, to be exact, since his tragic death,” said Madison.

A city spokesman says making the right decision took time, and the transfer of county executive administrations also played a role. He says Sheriff’s chief Clifford Pinkney is the right person to take over the investigation. The family has called for charges against the officer who shot Tamir. The county prosecutor says when the investigation is complete, he’ll present the case to a grand jury.

In a separate investigation that concluded in January, the U.S. Justice Department found the Cleveland Police Department has “systemic problems” with excessive force and called on the city to address police training and recruitment.