Cuyahoga County

Prosecutor releases investigative report on death of Tamir Rice

6/13/2015

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office today is releasing results of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department investigation into the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014.

“Transparency (i.e., the actual facts) is essential for an intelligent discussion of the important issues raised by this case,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. “If we wait years for all litigation to be completed before the citizens are allowed to know what actually happened, we will have squandered our best opportunity to institute needed changes in use of force policy, police training and leadership.

“I believe releasing the BCI Task Force investigation of the November 29, 2012 chase and shooting deaths of Ms. Williams and Mr. Russell provided the public with an accurate, factual basis to discuss the case, the issues and the reforms that have followed.”

Tamir Rice was shot outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland’s West Side on a Saturday afternoon and died at MetroHealth Medical Center the following day. He was fatally shot by a police officer responding to a 911 call that someone had a gun in the park. That weapon turned out to be an airsoft gun.

At the request of the Cleveland Division of Police, the Sheriff’s Department took over the use of deadly force investigation in January of this year. On June 3, Sheriff Clifford Pinkney delivered his investigative report to Prosecutor McGinty. The Sheriff’s Department was assisted in its work by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

The documents released today have been redacted to exclude personal information, confidential medical records and reports not germane to the events of November 22.

“I want to thank Sheriff Pinkney, his investigators and BCI for being willing to take on the thankless job of investigating the conduct of officers in another law enforcement agency,” said Prosecutor McGinty. “We are now in the process of reviewing this report and deciding what additional investigation is needed. That is the way that every significant investigation works: The Sheriff’s investigation is a good solid foundation that will support the grand jury's own investigation. Tamir’s family, the people of this community and the officers involved deserve nothing less than the most thorough investigation and analysis possible.”

In accord with the policy of the Prosecutor’s Office in fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, evidence from this investigation will be presented to the Grand Jury. Members of the Grand Jury also can ask to hear from additional witnesses, including expert witnesses.

In Cuyahoga County, the Grand Jury ultimately makes the final decision, after its investigation is complete, whether criminal charges are warranted.

“The death of a citizen resulting from the use of deadly force by the police is different from all other cases and deserves a high level of public scrutiny,” Prosecutor McGinty said. “These cases involve peace officers/public employees whose decision to take a fellow citizen’s life must be evaluated to determine, by law, whether the police officer’s action was reasonable under the circumstances and therefore justifiable.”

The report is available here.

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: 216.443.7488 or Email: jfrolik@prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us