The family of Tamir Rice sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland Friday asking him to reopen the investigation into the boy’s 2014 shooting death and to convene a grand jury to consider charges against the Cleveland police officers who killed him.
Former AG William Barr announced in December that the Justice Department would not pursue criminal charges in Rice’s death, saying there was not enough conclusive evidence against the police officers.
“The election of President Biden, your appointment, and your commitment to the rule of law, racial justice, and police reform give Tamir’s family hope that the chance for accountability is not lost forever,” the family’s attorneys wrote in the letter shared with CNN.
Rice was shot and killed outside a recreation center by then-Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, who authorities said mistook a black, toy airsoft pistol for a real firearm. The death of the 12-year-old by a White police officer helped to fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.
Loehmann was fired in May 2017, not for the shooting, but because investigators found he wasn’t truthful about his employment history when he applied for the job, officials said.
“Tamir would have been 19 years old in June,” Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, said in a statement. “I’m still in so much pain because no one has been held accountable for the criminal act that took his life. I’m asking DOJ to reopen the investigation into my son’s case; we need an indictment and conviction for Tamir’s death. I’m building his legacy. The Tamir Rice Foundation is very invested in the community and dedicated to creating change.”
In response to a request, Justice Department’s spokesman Anthony Coley told CNN “we extend our deepest condolences to the Rice family. The Department has received their letter and will be reviewing it.”