No indictment in Tamir Rice case, prosecutor says

By Steve Almasy and Ashley Fantz, CNN | 12/28/2015, 2:25 p.m.
An Ohio grand jury has decided not to return an indictment in the 2014 police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir ...
Tamir Rice

(CNN) -- An Ohio grand jury has decided not to return an indictment in the 2014 police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, prosecutor Tim McGinty said Monday.

Rice was holding a pellet gun when he was shot. It was "reasonable" to believe that the officer who killed the boy was facing a threat, McGinty said.

The officer was in training outside a Cleveland recreation center in November 2014. The shooting sparked controversy given Tamir's age and the fact that he had a gun that resembled a handgun.

Statement from Rev. Al Sharpton

“We are appalled that no indictment was returned in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, though we are not surprised given the behavior and tone displayed by prosecutor Tim McGinty’s all year. National Action Network has stood by Tamir’s family since the egregious killing that took young Tamir’s life and his mother joined us at a national march for police accountability last year in the nation’s capital. We will continue to support Samaria Rice as we call for a special national prosecutor to monitor such cases and we stand by the Rice family as they are dealt this blow during the holidays.”

The shooting

Tamir had been playing near the swings of a recreation center near his home when he was shot on November 22. He died a day later.

A witness called 911, reporting there was "a guy with a pistol," adding that the weapon was "probably" fake.

Information that the gun the caller saw was probably not real and that the person holding it appeared to be a juvenile was not conveyed to Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, according to recordings that law enforcement released.

Video of the incident shows a patrol car pull up on the snowy grass near a gazebo where Tamir is standing. Within seconds of arriving on the scene, Loehmann shoots the boy.

The gun was in the waistband of Tamir's pants. Sims writes that in the video, it appears the boy's hands moved toward his waistband, but it is unclear if he reached for the gun.

Kimberly Crawford, a 20-year veteran of the FBI and a former instructor at the agency's academy, writes that when the officers approached Tamir they were responding to a report of a male suspect with a gun he kept pulling from his pants.

"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," she writes in one of the other reports posted Saturday.

She says Loehmann was required to make a threat assessment and a split-second decision on whether to shoot.

"His response was a reasonable one," she writes.

McGinty said his office wasn't using the reports to reach a conclusion and the grand jury will get to consider all the evidence once the investigation into shooting is done.

In June, McGinty released the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office report. Also that month -- in a non-binding review of the case -- a Cleveland judge found probable cause for the charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide and dereliction of duty against Loehmann.

CNN's John Murgatroyd, Tony Marco, Dana Ford, Ralph Ellis and Melissa Gray contributed to this report.