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2016 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2

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Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, is fuming at the Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for shooting down her request to reopen the case of her late son.

Back in 2020, Rice sent an urgent letter to several members of the DOJ pleading with officials to re-examine young Tamir’s case. The mother, who has been a prominent voice in the social justice movement against police brutality, told the Atlanta Black Star that she even met with a few DOJ officials to discuss the matter and introduced ideas on how to reform policing in Black communities, but unfortunately, her requests fell on deaf ears. Rice called out Clarke for lacking compassion.

“As a Black woman, you are a big disappointment, and you sit me down in your office and tell me you had to sit your own son down, lady, I don’t want to hear all of that, do you understand how my life has changed completely and how it’s been destroyed because there’s no accountability in this country?” Samaria Rice said of the Attorney General.

12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by former Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann in November 2014. Young Tamir was playing with a toy gun near a park gazebo when Loehmann opened fire. Loehmann was on duty with police officer Frank Garmback when they received a 911 call about the young boy’s realistic-looking toy gun. Unfortunately, neither officer was charged for the incident.

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Under former President Trump’s administration, the Justice Department officially closed Rice’s investigation back in December 2020, noting that there was “insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges” against Loehmann and Garmback.

Last month, Clarke argued in a letter, that Rice could not legally prove that the officers violated section 242 of the federal civil rights law which states that “the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, an officer acting under color of law, willfully deprived” Tamir’s rights or privilege protected by the Constitution. Clarke said investigators could not provide clear proof that Loehmann acted with bad intent when he shot and killed Tamir. In December 2020, the DOJ’s final report on the case noted that 12-year-old Tamir’s death was “Flagged as a Code 1,” or a high priority call, however, the dispatcher never provided details on whether the gun was fake and did not notify officers that the individual in suspicious may have been a juvenile. The report claimed officers believed they were “responding to a playground where a grown man was brandishing a real gun at individuals, presumably including children,” The Atlanta Black Star noted.

Now, Rice is currently considering all of her options as she regroups to figure out why the DOJ swiftly denied her request, and she’s pleading with Clarke to provide more clarity.

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