*Two reports from experts – prepared for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty regarding the death of Tamir Rice – state the fatal shooting was reasonable.
According to CNN, the reports, in addition to a third one by the Highway Patrol, were posted on the prosecutor’s website Saturday night (Oct. 10). S. Lamar Sims, the senior chief deputy district attorney in Denver and Kimberly Crawford, a 20-year veteran of the FBI and a former instructor at the agency’s academy, wrote the two reports.
“These cases are, by their very nature, different than other matters that come to our office,” McGinty said in a written statement. “They demand a higher level of public scrutiny as well as a careful evaluation of the officer’s conduct and whether, under law, those actions were reasonable under the circumstances.”
The officers at the center of the Rice case are Timothy Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback. A grand jury will ultimately decide whether the lawmen will face charges for Rice’s death, McGinty said.
Sims’ report concludes that Loehmann’s decision to shoot Rice as he approached the officers was “objectively reasonable”
“There can be no doubt that Rice’s death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking,” Sims writes. “However, for all of the reasons discussed herein, I conclude that Officer Loehmann’s belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat.”
CNN notes that neither Loehmann nor Garmback spoke with Sims or Crawford, who reasoned that the officers were responding to a report of a male suspect with a gun he kept pulling from his pants when they approached Rice.
Recordings released by law enforcement reveal that information from a witness who called 911 to report “a guy with a pistol” and adding that the weapon was “probably” fake, in addition to the person holding the gun appearing to be a juvenile, was not conveyed to Loehmann and Garmback. Despite the revelation, Crawford concluded that it posed no relevancy to how Loehmann reacted.
“The after-acquired information — that the individual was 12 years old, and the weapon in question was an ‘airsoft gun’– is not relevant to a constitutional review of Officer Loehmann’s actions,” Crawford writes, adding that Loehmann was required to make a threat assessment and a split-second decision on whether to shoot Rice.
“His response was a reasonable one,” she writes.
The findings from Crawford and Sims’ reports mark the latest development in the aftermath of Rice’s death, which occurred a day after he was shot while playing near the swings of a recreation center near his home on November 22.
Video footage of the incident includes a patrol car pull up on the snowy grass near a gazebo where Rice is standing. Within two seconds of exiting his police car, Loehmann shoots Rice, whose gun was located in the waistband of his pants.
Upon seeing the video, Sims writes that although it appears that Rice’s hands moved toward his waistband it is unclear if he reached for the gun.
Reaction to Crawford and Sims’ reports did not sit well with Rice’s family, who wants Timothy Loehmann and Garmback held accountable for the young boy’s death. Subodh Chandra, an attorney for the Rice family, voiced the family’s belief that they don’t think that McGinty is pursuing punishment for the officers.
“Any presentation to a grand jury — without the prosecutor advocating for Tamir — is a charade,” Chandra told CNN. “To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash — when the world has the video of what happened — is all the more alarming.”
In Chandra’s eyes, Sims and Crawford are “pro-police.” He went on to point out that the video makes it obvious that Loehmann and Garmback never assessed the situation.
“Reasonable jurors could find that conduct unreasonable,” he said, adding that the family believes the prosecutor “is working diligently to ensure that there is no indictment.”
McGinty said his office wasn’t using the reports to reach a conclusion, CNN reports while stating that McGinty also mentioned that the grand jury in the case would get to consider all the evidence once the investigation into shooting is completed.