Tamir Rice Supporters Take Cause Into 2016

     CLEVELAND (CN) – More than 100 demonstrators celebrated the dawn of a new year by marching to the home of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty and staging a four-minute “die-in” in protest of a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers for the death of Tamir Rice.
     Police stood between the protestors and McGinty’s home on Friday to keep them from getting too close, even though protest organizers had instructed those in attendance not to vandalize McGinty’s property.
     Officers at the scene said McGinty was home during the demonstration, but the prosecutor did not come outside to address the crowd.
     The march from Impett Park to McGinty’s nearby house on the west side of Cleveland marked the fifth straight day of peaceful protests after grand jury proceedings ended without an indictment on Dec. 28.
     Timothy Loehmann, a white Cleveland officer, shot Rice in the stomach by on Nov. 22, 2014, less than two seconds after Loehmann’s supervising officer, Frank Garmback, pulled their patrol car to a stop in the park where the 12-year-old black child had been playing alone with a realistic-looking airsoft gun.
     An orange safety tip meant to indicate the toy’s harmlessness had been removed, but many in the community have questioned the rush by police to pull the trigger and the subsequent delay to provide the dying boy with first aid. Rice died in a nearby hospital on Nov. 23.
     Police received a 911 call about Rice after a concerned citizen saw the boy pointing the toy gun at friends and passersby. Though the caller had indicated that the person with the gun was “probably a juvenile” and the gun was “probably fake,” that information was not relayed to Loehmann and Garmback.
     When announcing the grand jury’s decision, McGinty maintained that “the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police.”
     The prosecutor called Rice’s death an “absolute tragedy” and a “perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunication by all involved.”
     Protestors at the New Year’s Day demonstration outside McGinty’s home called for the firing of Loehmann and Garmback, and the initiation of a federal investigation into Rice’s death. They also demanded the ouster of McGinty, who has been widely criticized for his handling of Rice’s case.
     A smaller group gathered again Saturday outside Quicken Loans Arena as the Cavaliers played their first home game since the grand jury decision.
     Though some activists had previously asked Lebron James via Twitter to sit out the game, James dismissed the request. “This issue is bigger than me, it’s about everyone,” the basketball star said.
     Earlier in 2015, McGinty’s office failed to secure the manslaughter conviction of another white Cleveland police officer he prosecuted for the shooting death of two unarmed black suspects.
     Attorneys representing the Rice family and estate have accused McGinty of retaining expert witnesses with pro-police biases and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment.
     A group of Cleveland-area clergymen has invited McGinty to discuss the grand jury decision with them in a private Tuesday morning meeting. There is no official word yet as to whether McGinty will accept their invitation.

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