The Ohio grand jury deciding the fate of the Timothy Loehmann, the police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he played in a park in Cleveland last year, decided on Monday (Dec. 28) not to indict the officer.
Video footage from the shooting reveals that Tamir, who has become a focal-point of the Black Lives Matter movement, was playing with an Airsoft pellet gun when police officers showed up. Loehmann, who alleges that he believed Tamir was an adult and the firearm was real, shot Tamir within seconds of arriving at the park. According to a report from CNN, Prosecutor Tim McGinty said that it was "reasonable" to believe that Loehmann thought he was facing a threat.
According to the LA Times, Loehmann’s records show that he resigned from Ohio's Independence Police Department in December 2012 after "supervisors described an emotionally unstable recruit with a 'lack of maturity' and 'inability to perform basic functions as instructed' during a weapons training exercise," but that "the Cleveland Police Department said that it had not reviewed Loehmann’s Independence personnel file during his background check."
CNN also notes that a "witness at the recreation center called 911, reporting there was 'a guy with a pistol,' adding that the weapon was 'probably' fake," but that "information that the gun the caller saw was probably not real and that the person holding it appeared to be a juvenile was not conveyed to Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback..."
Earlier this year, CNN reported that in contrast to Loehmann's claims, there was no evidence to suggest that the officers gave any kind of verbal warning -- required by police protocol -- prior to shooting Tamir, and in June, according to CNN, "A Cleveland judge found probable cause for the charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide and dereliction of duty against Loehmann."