Tamir Rice Family to Protest Downtown Friday, Demand Accountability in Dropped Federal Investigation


  • Sam Allard / Scene
The family of Tamir Rice, their legal team, and their community of supporters will rally for justice Friday afternoon in downtown Cleveland. After the Department of Justice announced in December that it was officially closing its five-year inquiry into the tragic case without pursuing charges against Cleveland officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the Rice family was shocked.

They were distraught, among other reasons, that they learned the news in the media. The Justice Department had failed to provide updates throughout the case and failed to inform the family of its final decision. The Friday protest is a renewed demand for accountability, "for the past and current failures" of the local and federal justice system, and part of a revived campaign to seek #JusticeForTamir via new legal appeals.

"Tamir Rice’s murder was — and is — a touchstone for global debate about racial injustice in the United States," a press statement announcing the protest affirmed, "and Tamir has become one of the most important figures in the quest for justice for Black Lives cut short by police violence."

The 12-year-old Tamir was shot in the stomach while playing with a toy gun at Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014 by officer Timothy Loehmann, who fired his weapon instantly upon arrival at the Cudell gazebo in a police cruiser driven by Garmback. The city of Cleveland settled the case for $6 million in 2016.

Federal charges could have been brought if the Justice Department deemed there was sufficient evidence that the officers denied the civil rights of Tamir or that they obstructed justice. Both the Rice family lawyer, Subodh Chandra, and other legal experts said they believed that there was ample evidence to pursue a grand jury investigation, but that "politics trump[ed] the law." 

Demonstrators will meet at 2:30 p.m. at Fort Huntington Park, the small green space at Lakeside and West 3rd, across from the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.