Tamir Rice’s body still hasn’t been buried. His mother has moved into a homeless shelter because she can’t bear to be near the park where he was shot by police, and six months after the events occurred, police say they still need more time to investigate Rice’s death.
During a recent news conference, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney talked about what the authorities have done so far.
“My investigators have poured over thousands of pages of documents and conducted numerous search warrants and interviews with witnesses,” said Pinkney. “We’ve also reviewed any and all surveillance from the surrounding area and conducted a 3-D measurement scan at the Cudell Rec Center.”
Pinkney didn’t take questions from the media in attendance and said that he needs to interview a few more witnesses and collect more forensic evidence.
“All parties involved know that my department is conducting a fair, impartial and thorough investigation—one that leaves zero stones unturned before turning it over to [Cuyahoga] County Prosecutor Tim Mcginty,” stated Pinkey.
But there are many, including Rice’s family, who believe the police are stalling and aren’t being fair at all. Rice, 12, was shot by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann in a park outside of the Cudell Recreation Center after Rice’s Airsoft gun was mistaken for a real one, and he died in the hospital the following day. Police were responding to a call about suspicious activity in the park. There were reports that the police still haven’t interviewed the cops involved in the incidents, but that hasn’t been confirmed. However, Latonya Goldsby, Rice’s cousin, believes one thing: Justice has not been served.
“We waited six months. Six months for what?” Goldsby told reporters after the news conference. “A 12-year-old kid—six months later and we’re still at a standstill. We still have no answers whatsoever. I would hope and pray that they are doing the best they can with this investigation and to be a little more transparent with our family.” Goldsby said they weren’t notified of the news conference.
Pinkey said a quicker investigation would just be an example of politics getting in the way of law enforcement.
“While it would be politically expedient to impose an arbitrary deadline, for the sake of the integrity of this investigation, I’m not willing to do that,” said Pinkney.
Last December, after a civil rights investigation launched by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. Department of Justice found “reasonable cause” to believe the Cleveland Police Department routinely used excessive force. As a result, an independent monitor was appointed to oversee reforms within the department to make sure the Police Department is operating appropriately.