Cleveland Cop Who Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Will Be Investigated Someday. Maybe.
Being reassigned to desk duty must keep a cop awfully busy. That's the only explanation we can think of for why Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice dead on Nov. 22, 2014, still hasn't been interviewed by investigators from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department. He probably has a lot of filing to do. You know how that sort of work can pile up, especially if you're burdened by the knowledge that you killed a child who was holding a toy gun. At least we'd like to think he's burdened, but that could just be us being optimists.
Mother Jones reports that despite multiple attempts by investigators to interview them, neither Loehmann nor Frank Garmback, who drove the police car to within a few feet of Rice before Loehmann shot him, have not yet been interviewed. You might think that would be something of a priority. Still, the Sheriff's Department did at least hold a press conference last week, in which Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney said that the investigators had reviewed "thousands of pages of documents, and conducted numerous search warrants and interviews with witnesses." Just not, it seems, from the two officers who were involved in the shooting. Not that it's too surprising Loehmann may be reluctant to talk to investigators, since they might ask him embarrassing questions, like why on earth are you a cop in the first place, you incompetent idiot?
An anonymous county official told Mother Jones that the investigation of possible criminal charges is focused only on Loehmann; Garmback, the driver, is apparently not the subject of a criminal investigation. Seth Stoughton, a law professor interviewed by Mother Jones, said that the two officers' failure to render any medical assistance to Rice could be reason to charge both officers (and here we will all pause to sing selection 452 in our hymnals, "Yeah, Right O Lord, Fat Chance"). Video shows that, after bravely cuffing Rice's 14-year-old sister, who had run to the scene of the shooting, Loehmann and Garmback just stood around for four minutes, until an FBI agent who was in the area tried to administer first aid to Rice, who died the next day of his wounds.
The Sheriff's Department investigation is "expected to conclude in the coming weeks;" it's not clear when investigators will interview Loehmann and Garmback, if they do at all. The officers are also the subject of a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed by Rice's family; they have asked the judge in that case to put the civil case on hold until the criminal investigation is completed. The cops have both invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the civil case, so even when (or if) they're interviewed by the Sheriff's Department investigators, it won't be surprising if they have little to say. And once that investigation wraps up, the case will go to the county prosecutor's office, which will have the option of either bringing charges directly, or submitting the case to a grand jury.
Tamir Rice's family has apparently decided there's not much more that the investigators are going to find out; after keeping the boy's body preserved in case another medical examination would be needed, the family finally had his body cremated last week.
This is where we'd wrap up the story with a bitter joke about the arc of the moral universe being long, but eventually bends toward justice, except perhaps when cops shoot unarmed black kids, but we aren't sure it's worth the effort. Prepare for more terribleness that not even pictures of adorable kittens will help.
[Mother Jones / Cleveland.com / Mother Jones again / WaPo]
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.