Cleveland transfers Tamir Rice investigation to Cuyahoga County

tamir rice

Story highlights

  • Lawyers for slain youth's family say theyr'e "cautiously optimistic"
  • Tamir Rice, 12, was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer
  • Police say the boy held an air pistol that looked like a real gun

(CNN)The city of Cleveland has transferred the investigation into the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy by a Cleveland police officer to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, the city announced Friday.

Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot Tamir Rice in November in a city park. Police said the boy was reaching for an air pistol in his waistband that the officer thought was a real gun.
The lawyers for the youth's family said they they are "cautiously optimistic" about the change.
    "The Rice family hopes that this investigation yields information about why Cleveland Police failed to conduct a background check with the Independence Police Department before hiring Officer Timothy Loehmann." said lawyers Benjamin Crump, Walter Madison and Daryl Parks.
    "We are further hopeful that this independent investigation will shed some light on why the police car nearly drove on top of Tamir Rice, and why he was shot less than two seconds after officers converged."
    Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson said in a statement: "This decision to turn the investigation over was made to ensure that transparency and an extra layer of separation and impartiality were established. I believe that the best way to ensure accountability in a use of force investigation is to have it completed by an outside agency."
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    No charges have been filed. The investigation will be conducted by Chief Clifford Pinkney of the sheriff's office, which will present information to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office for determination of possible charges.
    The Tamir Rice shooting was one one of several police shootings of African-American males in 2014 that sparked a series of anti-police demonstrations across the United States.