Cleveland officers want delay in lawsuit over boy's shooting

AP News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2015 11:16 AM

CLEVELAND (AP) — Two Cleveland police officers involved in the deadly shooting of a 12-year-old boy who was carrying a pellet gun requested Monday that a judge delay the family's lawsuit against them.

The officers want the federal lawsuit to be stopped until the criminal investigation is completed and works its way through the courts.

Delaying the lawsuit would allow the officers to give depositions and testify "without fear that their answers may be used against them in a separate criminal proceeding, where the stakes are significantly higher and their liberty is directly at risk," they said in the request.

The family of Tamir Rice filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the two officers and the city, saying both officers acted recklessly when they confronted the boy in a terrifying manner outside a city recreation center.

Tamir was shot in the abdomen by a rookie officer responding to a call about someone with a firearm near the recreation center on Nov. 22. The officer fired within two seconds of the police car stopping nearby. Tamir, who was black, had been carrying what turned out to be an airsoft-type gun that shoots non-lethal plastic pellets.

The confrontation, captured on surveillance video, raised questions about how police treat blacks. A police union official said the white officer had no way of knowing Tamir wasn't carrying a real firearm.

The Cuyahoga County sheriff's department is investigating the shooting. A prosecutor has promised that a grand jury will consider whether the case merits criminal charges.