A Municipal Court judge in Cleveland, Ohio determined that probable cause exists to bring murder charges against an officer involved in the slaying of 12 year-old Tamir Rice. The judge also determined that probable cause exists to charge a second officer with negligent homicide.
Rice was shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann while the young African American boy was holding a toy gun. Officers allegedly did not seek medical help for Rice for several minutes, though they did reportedly handcuff his 14 year-old sister and threaten to detain her further.
Judge Ronald B. Adrine found that sufficient cause exists to charge Loehmann with murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty. Officer Frank Garmback may face charges for negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.
What happens now is less certain. Adrine released his findings after clergy members and activists invoked a provision of Ohio law that allows citizens to bypass prosecutors and seek a judge’s opinion on whether cause exists to bring criminal charges. Though Judge Adrine must now issue an arrest warrant for the two officers, the case ultimately will still be referred to a local prosecutor, and the question of whether to indict the two cops rests with a grand jury.