Last November, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by the police while playing with a toy gun in a playground. On Thursday, a Cleveland judge backed charges against two cops for Tamir Rice's death, acting under a rarely used Ohio state law provision.
Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine ruled that there was probable cause to charge Officer Timothy Loehmann with murder and his partner Officer Frank Garmback, with negligent homicide. Loehmann had fatally shot the child while Gramback allegedly stood by.
After watching surveillance video of the incident, Adrine wrote in a 10-page order that he was "thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly." Tamir was given "little if any time" to respond to the officers' orders.
"Literally," Adrine wrote, "the entire encounter is over in an instant."
Agreeing with a local group known as the "Cleveland 8" — who independently sought charges because they expressed no confidence in the grand jury investigation — Adrine's ruling is only advisory. It has no effect on the separate grand jury inquiry.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty dismissed Judge Adrine's recommendation.
According to The Guardian, McGinty vowed to go ahead with allowing the grand jury to decide on whether the officers should be charged:
This case, as with all other fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go to the grand jury. That has been the policy of this office since I was elected. Ultimately, the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged.
[Cover image via Angelo Merendino/Getty Images Sport]