Prosecutor who oversaw Tamir Rice inquiry loses in primary

AP News
Posted: Mar 16, 2016 4:39 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — The prosecutor who faced criticism for his handling of the investigation into Tamir Rice's killing lost in the Democratic primary to a former assistant prosecutor.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty lost in Tuesday's election to Parma Safety Director Michael O'Malley, who is almost assured of assuming the office because no Republicans are on the ballot.

Tamir, a 12-year-old black boy, was fatally shot by a white police officer while playing outside a recreation center with a pellet gun that looked like a real firearm. A grand jury declined to indict the officer and his white partner.

The case was one of several across the country that spurred protests about police mistreatment of black males.

Tamir's family and others in the black community believe McGinty never intended to charge the officers and hired experts who would side with the police. McGinty denied that. He said the killing was a "perfect storm of human error," and said the officers had no way of knowing Tamir's weapon wasn't lethal.

O'Malley was the top assistant under McGinty's predecessor as prosecutor. During the campaign, he criticized McGinty for creating a fractured relationship with police, judges and the black community. He said he left the prosecutor's office in 2015 after years because of low morale and McGinty's leadership style.

McGinty, a former assistant county prosecutor who served 18 years as a judge before being elected prosecutor in 2012, disagreed with O'Malley's assessment of low morale. He said he spent three years ridding the office of the kind of politics of which O'Malley was once a part.

The Cuyahoga County Democratic Party didn't endorse a candidate in the race, but O'Malley drew early support from U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, Ohio's top black political leader.

Unofficial results showed O'Malley got 55.8 percent of the vote. McGinty got 44.2 percent, conceded defeat and wished O'Malley well.