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Rice Family, Attorneys, Call For Special Prosecutor

Samaria Rice talks to a group of demonstrators during a recent event in Cleveland.
Brian Bull
/
WCPN

The family of Tamir Rice has asked the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor to step aside and let a special prosecutor investigate the incident. Last fall, the 12-year-old was shot by a Cleveland police officer outside a recreation center near his home. The family and their attorneys say Tim McGinty will not do the case justice.

About two dozen activists, Rice family relatives, and attorneys recently gathered on the steps of the Justice Center, calling for a new direction into the investigation of Rice’s death. They blasted the timing and content of two expert reports released late Saturday by the county prosecutor’s office that deemed the boy’s fatal shooting as “tragic” but “reasonable.”

Attorney Jonathan Abady told the crowd that Prosecutor McGinty is too close with law enforcement to be fair and diligent. 

“The police rely on the prosecutors, the prosecutors rely on the police. They are like a family," he said. "And what has been proven over time is that some members of these families, the prosecutors, have a great deal of difficulty In acting impartially and fairly when it comes to assessing and investigations allegations of police misconduct.” 

Samaria Rice expressed disappointment at the pace of the investigation, and that neither of the officers involved in the incident have been indicted.

Talking to demonstrators, Rice called on Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty to step down.

“Do you all think that the killing of my child was constitutionally justified" she asked. "I am praying the public continues to ask questions and seeks the truth. I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support, please continue to support us in getting justice for Tamir."

McGinty’s office said he has no plans to step aside, and in a written response said the investigation will be thorough and that ultimately justice will be achieved.

Rice was killed last November. Police shot him within two seconds after pulling up next to him.  He was carrying a pellet gun with its orange safety tip removed. The officer who shot Rice was a rookie who had poor performance reviews with a previous police department.