Judge Finds Probable Cause To Charge Officers In Tamir Rice Shooting
Cleveland Judge Ronald Adrine found probable cause to support criminal charges against Cleveland police Officer Timothy Loehmann and his partner, Officer Frank Garmback, in the 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice, NBC News reports.
Adrine acted under a rarely used provision of Ohio state law, after a group of activists referred to as the “Cleveland 8,” proceeded with a legal motion called an “affidavit of person having knowledge of offense.” The move was based on the widely distributed camera footage from the November shooting. According to the group, they were not seeking to circumvent the grand jury process but simply put, they were beginning to lose faith in the system.
“As citizens we have to do our best to get justice,” said R.A. Vernon, pastor of The Word Church, a signer of the affidavit.
“What you see here today is one of the most American things I’ve seen in my life,” said Michael Nelson, an attorney who leads the criminal justice committee of the Cleveland NAACP. “The people have decided to take the opportunity to make the government work for them.”
Adrine agreed with the activists and ruled that there is probable cause to charge Loehmann with murder, negligent homicide, reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty. Adrine also ruled that Garmback, who is accused of standing by after Loehmann shot 12-year-old Rice, should be charged with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.
In his ruling, Adrine expressed that footage of the shooting was “hard to watch,” and that he was “thunderstruck by how quickly this turned deadly.” He also expressed that it appears Loehmann and Garmback left the preteen to die as footage shows that they did nothing to help Rice for nearly 8 minutes as he lay wounded on the pavement.
Adrine’s ruling is only advisory, and the final decision of whether or not to charge these officers will be left up to Cuyahoga County and Cleveland prosecutors. County prosecutor Timothy McGinty later said in a statement that the decision will be made by the grand jury.