Before the end of the year, the grand jury announced that they would not be charging Officer Timothy Loehmann for the 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice. On November 22, 2014, Rice was shot by a police officer after he pulled a pellet gun out of his waistband. Although it was known that the gun was not a real handheld gun, this information was never communicated to the police officer, and he shot Rice in defense. This case, among many others throughout the United States, helped to spark the “Black Lives Matter Campaign”. Now, the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP is asking to see the grand jury documents in the monumental case.
NAACP not satisfied with the results
The NAACP was founded back in 1909 and advocates for civil rights in communities around the United States. Since the Tamir Rice case took place in Cleveland, the Cleveland NAACP branch wants to see all documents from the grand jury on the case. They are not satisfied with what has been made public, and want the opportunity to look over and analyze everything that grand jury members heard. It seemed as though the prosecutor for the case, Timothy J. McGinty, might have actually manipulated the grand jury into their final decision. The Cleveland branch pushed for a vote to release all court documents. They are not looking for the names of specific jurors, as the group knows that kind of information cannot be disclosed. However, they are looking for a general transcript of the witness testimony, and how much money was spent on expert witnesses. Cleveland NAACP President Michael Nelson said that there were several witnesses until the prosecutor got what he wanted, and the group wants to know how much that cost.
McGinty responds to the NAACP
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor came back and responded to the NAACP’s request by saying that Ohio law prevents him from releasing any grand jury transcripts from the Tamir Rice case. McGinty came on strong, and provided a written response within hours of the group requesting the transcripts. He believes that President Michael Nelson has a misunderstanding of the grand jury process in the Tamir Rice case. In order for the NAACP to gain access to the grand jury transcripts, there will have to be a court order. Until then, the Cleveland NAACP branch is not likely to get any information to their unanswered questions.
NAACP CEO and President speaks out
Although the Cleveland NAACP branch is working to obtain the case transcripts, the NAACP President and CEO, Cornell William Brooks did release a statement following the Grand Jury decision. He sent his love and prayers to the family and community. Brooks also made it known that there were several questions left unanswered, like why the dispatcher failed to communicate with the officers on scene. In his closing remarks on the case, he said that something must be done in the streets, courts, police departments, legislature, city hall, and Congress because a 12 year old child lost his life. The Cleveland chapter of the NAACP will continue to work hard to obtain the grand jury transcripts, and fully understand why the police officer was not indicted.