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Since there's been so little movement by Cuyahoga County in the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last fall -- the Sheriff's Office investigation was only delivered to prosecutors last week, more than six months after the child was shot to death by cops -- community leaders in Cleveland have a new plan that's so crazy, it just might work. They're preparing to make use of a quirk in Ohio law that allows citizens to go directly to a judge and request the prosecution of the police officers who shot Rice two seconds after arriving on the scene.


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“The writing is on the wall,” said a lawyer for Tamir’s family, Walter Madison, who worked with the community leaders as they planned to seek charges. “If you look at every other instance, it ends up unfavorable to the families.”

Turns out that in Ohio, any person with “knowledge of the facts” can request an arrest without getting the approval of a prosecutor or grand jury, although that strategy is not often used except by crackpots:

It is difficult to know how the case will play out because there is little precedent for a citizen to request an arrest in such a contentious, high-profile case.

Mr. Madison said that he knew of no instance in which an Ohio judge had ordered the arrest of a police officer based on a citizen complaint, but that most previous complaints had been frivolous.

The request, to be filed Tuesday, includes six affidavits outlining the crimes that community leaders believe were committed in the killing of Rice. Supporters of the Rice family don't have a lot of confidence that the Cuyahoga County prosecutors will bring charges, because they believe the prosecutors are too close to Cleveland police.

If approved, the arrest would be followed by a public hearing, and community members said that was preferable to allowing prosecutors to make the decision in secret.

“Here we are taking some control of the process as citizens,” Mr. Madison said. “We are going to participate without even changing the law.”

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We're not sure which sports metaphor is more apt here: Are the activists trying an end run around a court system that's stacked in favor of the cops, or is this more of a Hail Mary pass? Or is football even the right sport? Maybe if he hadn't been shot to death at the age of 12 because the cops couldn't wait more than two seconds -- literally two seconds -- for him to drop a toy gun, we'd have a better sense of whether Tamir Rice would have even gone out for football.

[New York Times]

Doktor Zoom

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.

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