Death of Cleveland boy killed by police, ruled a homicide

The mother of a 12-year-old boy shot by a Cleveland policeman says she wants him convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. That could happen after the Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide Friday.

Tamir Rice was fatally shot Nov. 22 when officers responded to a 911 call about someone with a gun at a playground. Surveillance video shows the boy being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping near him.

Samaria Rice said at a news conference Monday that a friend had given her son the airsoft gun, which shot nonlethal plastic pellets.

The family’s attorneys say they want a transparent investigation. While a grand jury is expected to consider whether charges are merited, attorney Benjamin Crump, who has been involved in other high-profile cases involving the deaths of young black males, insisted that patrol officer Timothy Loehmann should be indicted without a grand jury hearing evidence.

Other attorneys have already filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city on behalf of Tamir’s family.

Samaria Rice said Monday that two little boys came to her door and told her Tamir had been shot twice in the stomach. She said she ran across the street to the playground and found Tamir on the ground and her 14-year-old daughter crying inside the same police car that Loehmann and his partner drove to the scene.

Crump said the girl told her mother that she had been tackled and handcuffed by police officers after she became upset because her brother had been shot.

A Cleveland police spokeswoman said on Monday that officials declined to comment.

Crump said he and attorney Walter Madison had been hired “to try to make sure this process is transparent and that it’s not swept under the rug as so many others.”

In the last few weeks, a grand jury in Missouri chose not to indict a police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. and one in New York City decided not to charge a police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold that led to his death.

“We don’t need to have another grand jury,” Crump insisted. “They can just indict the officer.”

In Ohio, the only way criminal charges can go to trial without an indictment is if a defendant waives the right to have a grand jury consider the evidence.

Crump is based in Tallahassee, Florida, and has represented the families of 18-year-old Brown and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot by a man in Florida who said he was conducting a neighborhood watch.

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