The Department of Justice has announced that it will not reopen an investigation into the death of Tamir Rice.
This comes after Rice’s family requested that President Joe Biden take a second look into the case, after the DOJ announced on Dec. 29, 2020 that it would be closing its investigation into the 12-year-old’s death.
Assistant U.S. attorney general Kristen Clarke sent a letter to the Rice family lawyer, Jonathan Abady, and stated the case would not be reopened because prosecutors could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann acted willfully, Cleveland’s CBS affiliate station reported.
On November 22, 2014, Rice was outside of a recreation center and was playing with a pellet gun when officer Loehmann fatally shot him just seconds after arriving on the scene, ABC News reported.
The day of the incident, a man drinking beer called 911 and informed authorities that there was a man pointing a gun at people. The unidentified man later told dispatch that the gun may be fake, however that was never relayed to the officers.
The DOJ says poor surveillance video of the incident made it hard for prosecutors to determine whether Rice was reaching for the toy gun while officers commanded him to show his hands.
Clarke stated the DOJ stands by its decision to close the case in 2020 and that the decision was not in any way influenced by politics.
She also wrote that Rice’s family should not “view the department’s 2020 decision as an exoneration” of the police officer’s actions.
In 2014, the DOJ launched an investigation into the Cleveland police department and found that its officers routinely participate in patterns and practices “that deprive individuals of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States”.
To date, the department remains under supervision.