01:37 - Source: CNN
Tamir Rice death investigation complete

Story highlights

12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed last year

He had been playing with a pellet gun in a park near his home

Tamir's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit

CNN —  

The much-anticipated police investigation into the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice has moved into the hands of prosecutors, who will decide what to do next.

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio handed over its investigation Wednesday – more than six months after the boy was shot.

“The sheriff’s office received the file on February 13, and has performed an extensive, thorough and unbiased investigation. It is now up to the prosecutor to determine how next to proceed,” the department said.

Tamir was holding a pellet gun when a Cleveland police officer shot him November 22. The boy died a day later.

He had been playing in a park near his home.

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

That 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 the officers who responded, according to recordings that law enforcement released.

Cleveland Officer Timothy Loehmann fired the fatal shots at Tamir within two seconds of arriving outside the recreation center, where the sixth-grader was playing with the pellet gun.

The killing made international headlines and stoked outrage across the United States as the nation reeled from police-involved shootings of unarmed African-American men. Tamir Rice was black.

His mother told CNN, “They never even gave him a chance.”

Wrongful death lawsuit

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said that four minutes after Tamir was shot, a detective and FBI agent were on the scene. The FBI agent began first aid and paramedics arrived three minutes later.

In March, the city of Cleveland responded to a wrongful death suit that Tamir’s family filed by saying the boy’s death was the fault of one person: him.

In the 41-page response, the city said Tamir’s injuries “were directly and proximately caused by the failure of Plaintiffs’ decedent to exercise due care to avoid injury.”

The city also claimed it was was entitled to all “full and qualified” immunities under state and federal law.

Cleveland’s mayor later apologized for the city’s “poor use of words and our insensitivity” in its response, and said it would be reworded.

Justice Department investigation

In December, the U.S. Justice Department released the results of a two-year investigation that found Cleveland officers use guns, Tasers, pepper spray and their fists excessively, unnecessarily or in retaliation.

Also in December, Loehmann’s previous employer, the Independence Police Department in a Cleveland suburb, said it had numerous complaints about Loehmann, including that he was “distracted and weepy” and “emotionally immature” and had demonstrated “a pattern of lack of maturity, indiscretion and not following instructions.”

He showed “dangerous loss of composure during live range training” and an “inability to manage personal stress,” the department said.

CNN’s Ashley Fantz, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Kristina Sgueglia, Catherine E. Shoichet, Vivian Kuo, Sonia Moghe and John Murgatroyd contributed to this report.