The Justice Department released a statement Monday that it will continue its review of the shooting of 12-year-old Cleveland boy Tamir Rice.
The announcement comes on the heels of the county prosecutor’s announcement that a grand jury chose not to bring charges against two law enforcement officers involved in the shooting of Rice, who had a pellet gun outside a Cleveland recreation center last November.
“The Civil Rights Division of The Department of Justice, The United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring the investigation that has been conducted regarding the death of Tamir Rice on Nov. 22, 2014,” the Justice Department said in a Monday statement.
“We will continue our independent review of this matter, assess all available materials and determine what actions are appropriate, given the strict burdens and requirements imposed by applicable federal civil rights laws.”
“Additionally, the Department of Justice continues in its efforts to pursue ongoing and comprehensive reform pursuant to the consent decree in the federal, civil, pattern and practice case filed before Chief Judge Solomon Oliver in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.”
The Justice Department statement raises questions about whether it is violating the Fifth Amendment, which reads, in part, “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”
Rookie officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot Tamir Rice after he and training officer Frank Garmback responded to a 911 call about an individual waving a gun around and pointing it at people outside the rec center.
Video surveillance footage shows Loehmann shooting Tamir within seconds of the squad car pulling up next to the boy.
Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich called Rice’s death “a heartbreaking tragedy” and said that some will wonder if justice was actually served.
Rice’s family released a statement through their lawyer accusing Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty of “abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment,” adding that anyone upset with the grand jury decision to express it “peacefully and democratically.”
Attorneys for the family sent a letter to DOJ last week accusing McGinty and his team for not cross-examining Loehmann and Garmbeck after the officers gave the grand jury their versions of what happened.
McGinty responded in a statement to the media last week that Rice family attorneys “have spent months trying to inflame the media and the public with repeated, often inaccurate statements lobbying for their desired outcome.”