The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday that it will not file charge against the officers responsible for the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014.
Tamir was by shot by Cleveland, Ohio police Officer Timothy Loehmann on November 22, 2014 as he played in a park with a toy gun. Loehmann said he mistook the airsoft pistol for a real firearm.
Officer Loehmann and officer Frank Garmback were responding to a police dispatch call regarding a male with a gun.
Garmback was driving the cruiser that skidded to a stop near Tamir, before Loehmann jumped out and opened fire on the 12-year-old in less than two seconds.
Rice died early the next morning at a Cleveland hospital.
Loehmann was fired in May of 2017, not for the shooting, but because investigators found he wasn’t truthful about his employment history when he applied for the job, officials said.
His partner, Garmback, was suspended for 10 days for violating a tactical rule involving his approach to the gazebo where Tamir was shot dead.
The city of Cleveland settled a federal wrongful death lawsuit in April 2016 with the Rice family for $6 million.
There were no prosecutions in the case. In December 2015, a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against Loehmann and Garmback.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department said they found insufficient evidence to “support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.”
In its statement Tuesday, the Department said the officers “repeatedly and consistently stated that Officer Loehmann gave Tamir multiple commands to show his hands before shooting, and both officers repeatedly and consistently said that they saw Tamir reaching for his gun.”
Prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio said they could not prove that Tamir’s constitutional rights were violated or that the officers obstructed justice.
“In order to establish a federal civil rights violation, the government would have to prove that Officer Loehmann’s actions were unreasonable under the circumstances, and that his actions were willful,” federal attorneys said. ” … an officer is permitted to use deadly force where he reasonably believes that the suspect posed an imminent threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others. “
The department’s statement also noted that noted Loehmann and Garmback were the only two witnesses to the shooting and the video of the shooting was grainy, shot from a distance, didn’t show all of the incident and does not provide detail.