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Protests in Cleveland After No Charges in Tamir Rice Case

  • VOA News

People march as they take part in a protest against the police in Manhattan, New York, after a grand jury cleared two Cleveland police officers in the November 2014 fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, Dec, 28, 2015.

People march as they take part in a protest against the police in Manhattan, New York, after a grand jury cleared two Cleveland police officers in the November 2014 fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, Dec, 28, 2015.

Demonstrators have marched in Cleveland, Ohio, to protest a grand jury decision not to indict two police officers in the November 2014 shooting death of a 12-year-old African-American boy carrying what turned out to be a fake gun.

About 30 people marched in the rain to the Cleveland First District police headquarters as police blocked traffic to allow the march to pass Monday night. Earlier in the day, protesters gathered at the Cudell Recreation Center to lave stuff animals and colorings at the scene of the shooting of Tamir Rice.

In New York, about 100 protesters moved through lower Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge in another peaceful demonstration.

FILE - The fake handgun taken from 12-year-old Tamir Rice is displayed in November 2014 after a news conference in Cleveland.

FILE - The fake handgun taken from 12-year-old Tamir Rice is displayed in November 2014 after a news conference in Cleveland.

The protests followed Monday’s announcement of the decision by Cleveland prosecutor Tim McGinty, which capped a year of controversy and protests by activists and others who were shocked by surveillance footage of the killing of Tamir Rice.

“The outcome will not cheer anyone, nor should it," he said, referring to the grand jury decision. "Simply put, given the perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police."

Tamir E. Rice, 12, is seen allegedly pointing a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in a still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department Nov. 26, 2014.

Tamir E. Rice, 12, is seen allegedly pointing a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in a still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department Nov. 26, 2014.

Assistant prosecutor Matthew Meyer said the youth was seen repeatedly drawing the gun from his waistband and putting it back there in the hours before the deadly confrontation.

Attorneys representing Rice's family differed sharply with the jury's decision.

"It has been clear for months now that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty was abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment," the lawyers said in a statement. "Even though video shows the police shooting Tamir in less than one second, prosecutor McGinty hired so-called expert witnesses to try to exonerate the officers by telling the grand jury their conduct was reasonable and justified."

Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, urged residents to remain calm, while saying he understands the decision will leave many asking “if justice was served.”

Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams answers questions during a news conference in Cleveland, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015.

Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams answers questions during a news conference in Cleveland, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015.

Video footage

The video showed patrolman Timothy Loehmann fatally shooting Rice just seconds after arriving in a police cruiser to confront the youth. Police were sent to the scene after a caller alerted them about a man carrying a gun. The jury also declined to indict the driver of the police car, officer Frank Garmback.

Authorities later found Rice's gun to be a replica pistol that shot plastic pellets. It also found that factory-installed orange markings identifying the gun as fake had been removed.

Assistant prosecutor Matthew Meyer said that, in the hours before the deadly confrontation, Tamir was seen repeatedly drawing the gun from his waistband and putting it back.

As a months-long probe of the killing unfolded, outside investigators said that "any reasonable officer" could have believed Tamir's gun was a real firearm, and that actions based on that misidentification can be reasonable.

Tamir's death is one of a series of high-profile police killings of African-Americans that have riled police critics and spawned nationwide protests led by "Black Lives Matter" activists and their supporters in the past year.

Justice Department officials said they would continue an independent review of the Rice case.

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