NEW: Rice family lawyer calls report biased and misguided
Investigator calls case tragic but says conduct of officer who shot Rice was reasonable
Rice was killed almost one year ago by a Cleveland police officer
A police officer’s decision to shoot 12-year-old Tamir Rice at a Cleveland recreation center a year ago was “objectively reasonable,” a law enforcement expert writes in a report submitted to Ohio prosecutors Thursday.
In the 13-page report prepared by Ken Katsaris, who has been an instructor for more than 30 years, he says, “This unquestionably was a tragic loss of life, but to compound the tragedy by labeling the officer’s conduct as anything but objectively reasonable would also be a tragedy, albeit not carrying with it the consequences of the loss of life, only the possibility of loss of career.”
In addition to Loehmann’s statement, the office of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty released a statement from Loehmann’s partner, who also says he believed the gun was real and that the person waving it was an adult.
McGinty called the report and the video pieces of a complex puzzle that are part of an ongoing investigation. He didn’t say when the evidence would be shown to a grand jury.
An attorney for the Rice family said he doubts the case will be fairly presented to a grand jury.
“Regrettably, with the release of yet another utterly biased and shamelessly misguided ‘expert report,’ the county prosecutor is making clear his intention to protect the police from accountability under the criminal laws, rather than diligently prosecute them,” Jonathan Abady said.
The family had no notice about this new report. or the video, he said.
He reiterated the family’s call for a special prosecutor.
Tamir Rice was killed by Timothy Loehmann, an officer in training, outside a Cleveland recreation center in November 2014. The shooting sparked controversy given Tamir’s age, the amount of time before the officer shot the boy, and the fact that Tamir had a gun that fired pellets, not bullets.
It also came as protests grew over police-involved shootings of unarmed African-American men.
The boy’s family has called for a special prosecutor to take over the case, alleging that the county prosecutor has shown himself to be biased in favor of police.
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 Loehmann and his partner, according to recordings that law enforcement released.
Video of the incident shows a patrol car driven by Officer Frank Garmback pull up on the snowy grass near a gazebo where Tamir is standing. Within two seconds of exiting the police car, Loehmann shoots the boy.
The gun, which didn’t have an orange tip indicating it was a replica, was in the waistband of Tamir’s pants.
Katsaris writes the officers couldn’t wait to see if the gun was real or a realistic-looking replica.
“Given the notice of the police presence to Rice, and the specific threatening actions of Rice toward the reported gun location area on his body, Rice’s actions provided no other alternative to Officer Loehmann than to apply deadly force,” he writes.
CNN’s Rashard Rose contributed to this report.