Cleveland, Ohio – Thursday Afternoon, Cleveland municipal court justice, Judge Ronald Adrine, found there was probable cause to charge officer Timothy Loehmann with murder, manslaughter and reckless homicide in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last fall.
Adrine also found probable cause to prosecute Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback, with negligent homicide, for his role in the shooting incident in which Rice was killed while holding a bb gun.
Since the city of Cleveland and those tasked with ensuring justice have done virtually nothing to provide justice for Rice’s family, community leaders took it upon themselves to utilize a little-known process of appealing directly to a judge to begin the process of prosecution.
This process is permitted under Ohio state law and allows for citizens to strive for justice in the case of the system attempting to protect one of its own, as very much looks to be the case in Rice’s killing.
This process was a complete shot in the dark as the overwhelming majority of attempts to bypass the grand jury are never accepted.
In an interview with The Guardian, Rice family attorney Walter Madison said, “We are very much relieved and it is a step towards procedural justice and people having access to their government.”
In his order, Judge Adrine wrote, “State law does provide an avenue for a private citizen having knowledge of facts to initiate the criminal process.”
When those in positions of power refuse to hold their own accountable it is incumbent upon the people to rise up and force justice. The people of Cleveland have taken this important step of holding their public servants accountable under the law.
Madison went on to say the decision highlighted that “the police are public servants and not the public’s master.”
Thankfully there are enough strong activists that have pushed for justice in this case and accountability may finally be brought to those involved in this senseless death of a child. If not for the people that have continually beaten the drum of “Justice for Tamir” over the past 6 months, this case would have simply been swept under the rug like so many others.
The ruling, thus far, is largely symbolic because the judge can’t order prosecutors to actually pursue the charges.
The public officials that have been remiss in their duty to provide justice for the family of Tamir Rice should be publicly called out and scorned, as they have failed the City of Cleveland and its citizens.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.