Justice

Protesters Shut Down Streets After Cop Who Killed 12-Year-Old Boy Goes Free

CREDIT: AP Photo, Tony Dejak

This Nov. 25, 2014, file photo, shows demonstrators blocking Public Square in Cleveland, during a protest over the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

A grand jury’s decision not to indict the Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice sparked public protests Monday evening — and will likely continue throughout the week.

Shortly after the announcement that Officer Timothy Loehmann would face no criminal charges, protesters in Cleveland and New York took their outrage to the rainy streets, shutting down main thoroughfares with relatively brief, peaceful marches demanding justice for Rice’s family and a federal intervention into the case. Protesters promise more action Tuesday evening.

“If we march today, maybe a kid doesn’t die tomorrow,” chanted a group of 30 protesters who met last night in front of the Cleveland recreation center where Rice was shot for playing with a toy gun just over a year ago. The group marched and chanted through the city to police headquarters. They faced locked doors.

Members of the Cleveland Police Department, the local housing authority, and local churches are reportedly meeting Tuesday morning to discuss “how to move forward.” However, community protesters have a more organized rally in the works for Tuesday afternoon in the city center.

In New York City, a larger march shut down the Brooklyn Bridge and nearby streets, led by NYC Shut It Down, an anti-police-violence group active in the city’s Black Lives Matter movement. No protesters were arrested.

Opponents to the grand jury’s decision, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have asked for federal intervention.

“All I wanted was someone to be held accountable. But this entire process was a charade,” said Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, in a statement Monday evening. “I pray and hope that the federal government will investigate this case.”

The DOJ is already well-acquainted with systemic abuse and misconduct within the Cleveland Police Department. Shortly after Tamir Rice’s death in November 2014, the DOJ released a report that found widespread excessive use of force by police officers in Cleveland.

Rice’s family has also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the two police officers involved in the shooting and the city of Cleveland.

The family has renewed its request for the United States Department of Justice to step in and conduct “a real investigation.”

Which may already be underway. On Monday evening, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Northern Ohio released a statement affirming its continued involvement in an investigation of Rice’s death. “We will continue our independent review of this matter, assess all available materials and determine what actions are appropriate, given the strict burdens and requirements imposed by applicable federal civil rights laws,” it promised.