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Tamir Rice, Still No Justice Six Years Later In The Land Of The Free

Feds decline charges against officers in killing of Tamir Rice in Cleveland park

On Saturday, November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice, a 12-year old African-American boy, was killed in Cleveland, Ohio, by Timothy Loehmann, a 26-year-old white police officer. Rice was carrying a replica toy gun; Loehmann shot him almost immediately after arriving on the scene. Two officers, Loehmann and 46-year-old Frank Garmback, were responding to a police dispatch call regarding a male who had a gun. The world watched another Black Live Lost on video.

On Tuesday, December 29th, the Justice Department announced that it would not bring federal criminal charges against two Cleveland police officers who killed young Tamir, who would have been eighteen years old on June 25th. They said the video of the shooting was of too poor a quality for prosecutors to conclusively establish what had happened.

Tamir would never graduate high school, attend his senior prom and experience the celebration after the prom. He will never go to college, get married and have children of his own because his life was taken by a white officer while he was still a child himself. Six years and seven days later, his family have still never received justice of those who killed him. Tamir’s crime, playing with a toy gun in a Cleveland park while being Black. Yet many wonder why people still shout Black Lives Matter.

All Lives cannot matter until Black Lives lost at hands of law enforcement like 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s life matter. Blacks Lives still do not matter to the criminal justice system in the United States of America. If Tamir was a young, white, a young Jewish, a you Italian boy [insert any other group other than Black here] was killed playing with a toy gun in a public park, officers would have been convicted. Actually if Tamir was white he would still be alive and would graduated high school and be attending college virtually right now.

In closing the case, the department brought to an end a long-running investigation into a high-profile shooting that helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement and that became part of the national dialogue about police use of force against minorities, including children. In closing the case the justice system is saying Black Lives do not matter, even after the national movement after the egregious police killing of George Floyd.

The decision, revealed in a lengthy statement, does not condone the officers’ actions but rather says the cumulative evidence was not enough to support a federal criminal civil rights prosecution. The closing of the case is the latest example of Lady Justice – the allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems – peeking under the blindfold before deciding whether or not to dispense justice.

Should young boys play with toy guns? Probably not, but if they do, they should not receive a death sentence from an officer playing judge and jury on the spot, and shoots Tamir within TWO SECONDS of the police arriving.

Yes the police were responding to a call reporting that a male was pointing “a pistol” at random people at the Cudell Recreation Center, a park in the City of Cleveland’s Public Works Department. At the beginning of the call and again in the middle, he says of the pistol “it’s probably fake.” Toward the end of the two-minute call, the caller states that “he is probably a juvenile” however, this information was not relayed to officers Loehmann and Garmback on the initial dispatch. Therein lies another problem. The caller and dispatcher who didn’t articulate the gun was probably fake and the fact Tamir looked like a juvenile to the caller, both have blood on their hands as well. And people wonder why the Black Youth is so angry.

The officer’s excuse is always they feared for their lives, but like Doc Rivers said in a press conference, not sure why the ones with badges, guns, training and bulletproof vest (you know the professionals) are the ones scared for their life when we are the ones being killed with impunity. It is Black People who loves this country that has proven over and over it does not love us back. The closing the case is further proof. Like the former Los Angeles Clippers coach, emotionally said after the Clippers’ Game 5 win over the Dallas Mavericks, in the news conference, “We got to do better, but we got to demand better.” But for Black people getting justice in these cases, better never comes.

To bring federal civil rights charges in cases like these, the Justice Department must prove that an officer’s actions willfully broke the law rather than being the result of a mistake, negligence or bad judgment. It has been a consistently tough burden for federal prosecutors to meet across both Democratic and Republican administrations, with the Justice Department declining criminal charges against police officers. Even in local cases like the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., a 68-year-old former Marine whose only crime was accidently setting off his life alert in his sleep, almost to the day in month of November three years earlier. And you wonder why some are calling for a defunding of the police, after countless Black Lives lost at the hands of law enforcement who have not been punished.

In a statement, Subodh Chandra, an attorney for the Tamir Rice’s family, said the Justice Department’s “process was tainted” and the family has demanded prosecutors provide additional information about recommendations made during the probe.

“It’s beyond comprehension that the Department couldn’t recognize that an officer who claims he shouted commands when the patrol car’s window was closed and it was a winter day is lying,” Chandra said. “The Rice family has been cheated of a fair process yet again.”

The New York Times reported in October that the department had effectively shut down the investigation, but Tuesday’s announcement makes it official. Tamir Rice’s family joins countless others in the land of the free, who the justice system has failed. As if the phrase the Land Of The Free was intended for law enforcement who kill Black and Brown people. They all have one thing in common, there are all free!!! Free from incarceration! Free from being charged! From from any sort of penalty for the pain they have cause far too many families! Makes you wonder if that what the Founding Fathers intended when they first uttered those words?


About AJ Woodson (2396 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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