Ohio grand jury hears from mother of Cleveland boy shot by police

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015 6:22 PM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot in November 2014 outside a Cleveland recreation center testified on Monday to a grand jury weighing whether to charge two officers in his death, her attorney said.

"An indictment would give me just a little bit of breath," Samaria Rice said afterward, saying she was anxious for a decision but not prepared if the grand jury does not indict the officers in the death of her son, Tamir Rice.

Rice's attorney, Subodh Chandra, said her appearance before the grand jury lasted a little over an hour.

"She had the opportunity to ask the grand jury to consider whether it could possibly be 'reasonable' or 'justifiable' for officers to speed across the grass when driveways were nearby, rush up to Tamir, and shoot him immediately," Chandra said.

Officer Timothy Loehmann shot Rice twice within seconds of arriving at the park with his partner, Frank Garmback. They were responding to a call about a man with a gun. Rice died the next day. Rice had a replica handgun that shoots plastic pellets.

Rice's death is one of several cases that raised questions about police use of force in the United States, particularly against minorities. Loehmann and Garmback are white, and Rice was black.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury has been hearing testimony since late October and the appearance of Rice's family members and the two officers involved could signal a decision is nearing, police union President Steve Loomis said Monday.

Rice said she had not been in contact with the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office since September, and the family has repeatedly asked prosecutor Timothy McGinty to step down from the case and have a special prosecutor appointed.

McGinty has come under fire for publicly releasing expert reports to the grand jury that call Rice's shooting "reasonably justified." He has said the releases are an attempt to maintain transparency.

Chandra on Saturday released family-commissioned reports that called the shooting unreasonable and reckless.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey and Peter Cooney)