CHICAGO: The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014, asked the Justice Department on Friday to reopen the case into his death after it was closed in the waning weeks of the Trump administration.
In late 2020, federal prosecutors said they would not bring charges against the two police officers involved, saying video of the shooting was of too poor a quality for them to conclusively establish what had happened. There were no other prosecutions in the case. In December 2015, a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against the officers.
Rice’s family said in a letter to the Justice Department that it believes Trump officials were uninterested in seeking justice for him because of political reasons and made the case needlessly complicated.
“The truth is this case is tragically simple. Tamir Rice was a boy. On November 22, 2014, he was doing something many boys enjoy: playing with a toy gun in a park near his house,” attorneys for the family wrote in the letter.
Rice was Black, and the police officer who shot him was white. The shooting sparked community protests about the police treatment of Black people, especially after a grand jury decided not to indict the officer or his partner.
The family’s request puts pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden administration to begin publicly delivering on a commitment to combat racial discrimination in policing. Garland has said America doesn’t “yet have equal justice.” But reopening the case could be complicated.
“The election of President Biden, your appointment, and your commitment to the rule of law, racial justice, and police reform give Tamir’s family hope that the chance for accountability is not lost forever,” the family said in the letter.
Rice was playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland on November 22, 2014, when he was shot and killed by Officer Timothy Loehmann seconds after Loehmann and his partner, Officer Frank Garmback, arrived. The officers had been dispatched to the recreation center after a man drinking beer and waiting for a

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