Judge delays lawsuit over boy's fatal shooting by police

AP News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2015 8:53 AM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge delayed part of a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by police, citing concern for the officers' rights against self-incrimination.

Tamir Rice had an airsoft gun that shoots nonlethal plastic pellets when an officer shot him outside a Cleveland recreation center last November.

Chief U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. ruled Monday to put on hold for 60 days the discovery process of the case for the two officers involved. The ruling doesn't delay the lawsuit as it relates to the city of Cleveland.

Attorneys for the officers had requested the delay until the shooting investigation is completed and potentially works its way through court. The investigation, which is being conducted by the Cuyahoga County sheriff's office, is nearly complete, said Sheriff Clifford Pinkney last month.

Attorneys for Tamir's relatives had objected to delaying the civil suit, arguing that doing so would increase legal costs and emotional harm for the family.

The city, coming off a week of highly publicized events involving Cleveland police, continues to wait for a decision on whether any officers will be prosecuted in the boy's death.

Last week, officials announced a settlement between Cleveland the U.S. Department of Justice after an investigation found a pattern of excessive force and civil rights violations by the city's police department. The 105-page agreement includes sweeping changes on how Cleveland officers use force, treat the community and deal with the mentally ill. It puts the 1,500-member department under the oversight of an independent monitor.

The settlement became public came just three days after a white Cleveland patrolman was acquitted on May 23 of manslaughter for his role in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire that left two unarmed black suspects dead in a car in 2012.