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Expert Reports: Fatal Shooting Of Tamir Rice Deemed 'Reasonable'

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

Two expert reports requested by prosecutors say a Cleveland police officer’s actions were reasonable when he fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice. But local prosecutors say they’re not reaching conclusions yet.

The expert reports released Saturday night come from a former FBI agent and a Colorado prosecutor. They say the officer’s decision to shoot was reasonable given the circumstances and perception of a threat.

However, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty says his office is still gathering evidence and a grand jury will have the final say on whether any officers should face charges. An attorney for the Rice family says prosecutors are avoiding holding police accountable, and says a jury could find the officer’s actions unreasonable. 

Tamir Rice had been playing with an air gun at a Cleveland park in November 2014, when someone called 9-1-1. Police arrived, and drove up next to Tamir. An officer emerged from the passenger side and shot the 12-year-old within seconds. He died the next day.

The Cuyahoga County sheriff’s office handled the investigation, and turned the case over to prosecutors this summer.

In June, a Cleveland Municipal Court judge ruled there was probable cause to charge the officers. He wrote that decision after activists brought the case to his courtroom by petition, a move allowable under Ohio law.

But at the time, prosecutors said the decision to indict remained up to a grand jury.