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Family of Tamir Rice Responds to Transfer of Shooting Investigation

Family of Tamir Rice and their attorneys address media in Cleveland. (Nick Castele / ideastream)
Family of Tamir Rice and their attorneys address media in Cleveland. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

Police say Tamir Rice had been reaching toward an air gun in his waistband when an officer shot him, less than two seconds after pulling up to him at a city park. Cleveland’s police chief said the gun’s appearance was indistinguishable from a more powerful pistol.

That was in November. Nearly six weeks later, the city announced it would turn its investigation over to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff.

In a news conference, attorney Walter Madison said the family wants to know what happened in the interim.

“We’re not in the business of managing the city, but we are in the business of seeking justice for Tamir Rice, and there has been a six week delay -- six weeks and three days, to be exact, since his tragic death," Madison said.

A city spokesman said making the right decision took time, and the transfer of county executive administrations also played a role. He says Sheriff’s Department Chief Clifford Pinkney is the right person to take over the investigation.

The family has called for charges against the officer who shot Tamir. The county prosecutor said when the investigation is complete, he’ll present the case to a grand jury.

"Coming on the heels of Michael Brown's grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, and the heels of Eric Garner's grand jury decision in Staten Island," family attorney Benjamin Crump said, "all America looks to Cleveland."

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.