Cuyahoga County

Statement from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty on the release of three additional reports regarding the death of Tamir Rice

10/10/2015 8:00:00 PM The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office is releasing three expert reports regarding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer on November 22, 2014.

Additional analysis has been commissioned and also will be released when completed. As stated when we released the Sheriff’s investigative report in June, transparency is needed for an intelligent discussion of the important issues raised in police use of deadly force cases.

These cases are, by their very nature, different than other matters that come to our office. They demand a higher level of public scrutiny as well as a careful evaluation of the officer’s conduct and whether, under law, those actions were reasonable under the circumstances.

In keeping with our policy in all cases where there has been a fatal use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, all evidence will be presented to the Grand Jury. Members of the Grand Jury also can request additional investigation and ask to hear from additional witnesses.

It is the Grand Jury that ultimately decides, after its investigation is complete, whether criminal charges are warranted.

The first report comes from the Ohio Highway Patrol and is a technical reconstruction of conditions at Cudell Recreation Center last November 22.
The other two reports evaluate the use of deadly force in the death of Tamir Rice. The authors are these reports are:
  • S. Lamar Sims, Senior Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Office of the Denver District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrissey. Mr. Sims is a Harvard Law School graduate and has been a prosecutor in Colorado since 1981. He is a frequent speaker at seminars on proper use of force by law enforcement officers and has handled numerous fatal use of deadly force investigations.
  • Kimberly A. Crawford, a retired Supervisory Special Agent assigned to the Legal Instruction Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where she taught classes in the use of deadly force. A graduate of Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Ms. Crawford was an FBI agent for more than 20 years and since 2009 has been an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Northern Virginia Community College in Fairfax, Virginia.
We are not reaching any conclusions from these reports. The gathering of evidence continues and the Grand Jury will evaluate it all. We have invited attorneys for the Rice family to offer input and/or evidence, and we continue to invite public dialogue regarding the use of deadly force in this and other cases with the goal of preventing these tragic occurrences.

This approach by our office has ended the protocol of total secrecy that once surrounded the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers. When a citizen is purposefully killed by police, the results of the investigation should be as public and transparent as possible. No longer will the public just receive a conclusion from the County Prosecutor. Now the ultimate decision on reasonableness will be made by the citizens of this county through the Grand Jury.

Starting with the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams at Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland almost three years ago, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office has shared the facts in these investigations with the public. By doing so, we hope to eliminate speculation as well as to inspire changes in attitudes, hiring and training that will prevent future tragedies.

Unfortunately, the police union has taken a short-sighted position by refusing to cooperate with this investigation and others, making it more challenging to find answers and needlessly delaying the process of justice.

We seek only the facts and the truth. The union operates by a double standard: It rightly asks the general public to have the courage to cooperate with police in serious criminal investigations, yet when the conduct of officers is being investigated, refuses to help.

This attitude goes against the best interests of both individual officers and the public. I would encourage all conscientious police officers to instruct their union leaders to reconsider this ill-advised stance.

Doing so will greatly enhance this community’s efforts to mend the trust between the police and the people they have sworn to protect.

Click here to access the reports.

Media Contact:

Joseph Frolik
Director of Communications and Public Policy