CLEVELAND, Ohio – Judge Ronald B. Adrine of the Cleveland Municipal Court said Thursday that there was probable cause to charge two officers for murdering 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed Rice November of last year when he was playing with a toy gun in a park. He opened fire within 2 seconds of arriving on the scene. The incident was captured on video by a surveillance camera.
The judge found probable cause to charge Loehmann with murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.
Adrine didn’t find probable cause to charge either officer with aggravated murder, as suggested by an affadavit filed by local clergy and activists. He also found that there wasn’t probable cause to charge officer Frank Garmback with murder.
He did find cause to charge Garmback with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.
Though the affadavit was an attempt to bypass the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor office as it prepares for a grand jury, Adrine did not order to have the officers arrested, but instead forwarded his opinion to city prosecutors and County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.
The affidavits were filed under an Ohio law that allows citizens to ask a judge to issue an arrest warrant.
Adrine said the video was “hard to watch.”
“After viewing it several times, this court is still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly,” he said.
The judge said “there appears to be little if any time reflected on the video for Rice to react or respond to any verbal or audible commands given from Loehmann and Garmback from their [car] between the time that they first arrived and the time that Rice was shot.”
“The police’s use of deadly force was fatal, unconscionable, that we deem criminal in nature,” read the 131-page citizen complaint.
Last week, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department forwarded the case to County Prosecutor Tim McGinty’s office. The decision to bring charges against the officers rests with the prosecutor’s office.