Tamir Rice’s family pens letter to DOJ pleading to reopen case
"I'm still in so much pain because no one has been held accountable for the criminal act that took his life,” Samaria Rice said.
The family of Tamir Rice and their legal team have issued a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration and the Department of Justice to reopen their investigation into the 12-year-old’s death.
According to The Hill, attorneys representing Rice’s family penned a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday requesting he reopen the case. They hope the DOJ can complete a thorough investigation of the fatal shooting and bring charges against the officers involved in Tamir’s death.
“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 letter stated. “We write on their behalf to request that you re-open this investigation and convene a grand jury to consider charges against the police officers who killed Tamir.”
Zoe Salzman, a lawyer representing the family, expanded on the impact his death has had on the Rice’s. She said to The Hill, for them to “be fighting, day after day, year after year, for justice, and the case or some government system some system of justice, to take the case seriously to give it a fair chance to just apply the rule of law, and that has been denied again and again to the Rice family.”
“This case deserves to be presented to a grand jury without the agenda of exonerating the officers,” the letter declared. “Seek an indictment, and let the grand jury decide whether to do so. And, if they do, try the case so that this conduct can be judged impartially in a court of law, as justice requires.”
theGrio reported the DOJ ended the investigation into Tamir’s death without informing the family. In August 2019, the DOJ led by Attorney General William Barr unofficially shut down its inquiry into the shooting. The pre-teen was fatally shot while playing alone in a park with a toy gun in 2014. Rice died the day after a single bullet from the gun of now-former Officer Timothy Loehmann struck him in the stomach less than two seconds after Loehmann arrived with Officer Frank Garmback, who was driving the police cruiser.
The officers were never indicted for Rice’s death. A Cleveland grand jury determined in December 2015, after viewing surveillance videotape, that it appeared the young boy was carrying a firearm. A request for a federal grand jury investigation into the shooting, reportedly urged by longtime prosecutors, was made in 2017, but according to The New York Times, the Justice Department basically let it sit for two years with no action.
The DOJ finally denied permission for the grand jury in August of 2019.
“Tamir would have been 19 years old in June. I’m still in so much pain because no one has been held accountable for the criminal act that took his life,” Samaria Rice said to The Hill. “I’m asking DOJ to reopen the investigation into my son’s case; we need an indictment and conviction for Tamir’s death. I’m building his legacy. The Tamir Rice Foundation is very invested in the community and dedicated to creating change.”
In addition to requesting her son’s case be further looked into, Samaria Rice has recently called out organizers including Tamika Mallory who she accused of chasing clout. theGrio reported she made the claim following a series of social media posts after Mallory’s cameo at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
“Look at this clout chaser did she lose something in this fight I don’t think so,” wrote Rice after the award show. She also criticized civil rights attorney Ben Crump. “That’s the problem they take us for a joke that[‘]s why we never have justice cause of shit like this.”
In March, she released an official statement, along with Lisa Simpson, the mother of Richard Risher, who was killed by LAPD officers in 2017, doubling down on her thoughts about Mallory, Crump and others, asking them to “step down” and “stand back.”
“Tamika D. Mallory, Shaun King, Benjamin Crump, Lee Merritt, Patrisse Cullors, Melina Abdullah and the Black Lives Matter Global Network need to step down, stand back, and stop monopolizing and capitalizing our fight for justice and human rights,” the statement read. “We never hired them to be the representatives in the fight for justice for our dead loved ones murdered by the police.”
This article contains additional reporting by theGrio’s Biba Adams and Grio Staff.
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