The investigation into the 2014 death of Tamir Rice has been halted. The Department of Justice quietly ceased the probe last year, The New York Times reported.
According to the publication, the department denied prosecutors’ request for a grand jury investigation after letting it “languish for two years,” and failed to notify the Rice family. The decision came nearly four years after the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ said it would conduct an “independent review” of the case and continue to pursue comprehensive reform.
A Justice Department official told HuffPost that the case is open and under review, but Attorney General William Barr never weighed in and the department has been mum.
Subodh Chandra, the Rice family’s attorney, alleged the DOJ intentionally put off prosecutors’ inquiry so the statute of limitations on Officer Timothy Loehmann — the cop that shot Rice — would “run out.”
“It was devastating to learn that this supposedly ‘law-and-order’ administration defied the judgment of career prosecutors, slow-rolled the investigation to let the statute of limitations run out, hid from the crime victim’s family its decision not to prosecute and let the officers get away with murder and obstruction of justice,” Chandra said in a statement.
“It’s disheartening that federal authorities also haven’t heeded the Rice family’s call to investigate the special treatment the county prosecutors gave the officers by letting them read self-serving, pre-written statements to the grand jury, and then taking a dive on cross examining the officers...,” she continued. “That apparent collusion between the prosecutors and police union merited scrutiny. The stench of political interference hovers over this case. It’s tragic that some public officials just can’t bear the thought of equal justice for all.”
The DOJ has declined to comment on the allegations.
Rice — a 12-year-old Black boy — was playing in the snow with a toy gun when he was fatally shot by Loehmann in 2014. The grand jury failed to charge the cop with any crime in connection to Rice’s death, but he was fired from the Cleveland Police Department.