Sheriff, Not Police, To Investigate Tamir Rice Shooting
The investigation of a Cleveland police officer’s deadly shooting of a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun is being handed over to a county sheriff’s office in an attempt to make sure it’s evenhanded, the city’s mayor said.
The move, announced Friday, comes amid recent outside criticism of Cleveland police officers’ use of force in recent years.
The Cuyahoga County’s sheriff’s office will take over for the city and continue the probe into the Nov. 22 Cleveland playground shooting of Tamir Rice, who was carrying an airsoft gun that shoots nonlethal plastic pellets when a rookie officer fired on him.
This decision to turn the investigation over was made to ensure that transparency and an extra layer of separation and impartiality were established,” Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement. “I believe that the best way to ensure accountability in a use of force investigation is to have it completed by an outside agency.”
Surveillance video released by police shows Tamir being shot less than two seconds after the officer’s patrol car stopped near him. Officer Timothy Loehmann told Tamir to put his hands up, but the boy didn’t, according to police.
The black youth’s death at the hands of a white officer raised questions about how police treat blacks and has spurred protests.
Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer recently said officers had no way of knowing Tamir was carrying an airsoft gun that only looked like a real firearm.