Protesters celebrate Tamir Rice’s 19th birthday with events in Cleveland Plaza and Washington DC (photos)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – In pouring rain in Public Square in downtown Cleveland, 19 balloons were released into the air by Samaria Rice marking what would have been her son’s 19th birthday on Friday at a rally demanding the ministry of Justice reopens the shooting death of his son, Tamir Riz.

Samaria told the crowd of around 50 that the citizens had won a victory in the conviction of a policeman for the death of George Floyd and urged people to keep the pressure on political leaders in the fight for justice in the death of her 12-year-old daughter. son by Cleveland Police in November 2014.

In recognition of the day, protesters attended two events in Washington DC and the Cleveland plaza titled “One Wish: Justice for Tamir”. Organizers said they hoped to pressure the US Department of Justice to reopen the investigation into Tamir’s death.

The protests came on the same day a Minnesota judge sentenced former police officer Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years in prison for murder in Floyd’s death.

The Trump-era Justice Department announced in December that it was ending its civil rights investigation into Tamir’s death. The announcement drew the wrath of Samaria. Since President Joe Biden took office, Samaria lawyers, lawmakers and citizens have urged U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland to reconsider the shooting.

Tamir’s Campaign for Justice, Black Spring CLE and other groups organized Friday’s events.

The then officer, Timothy Loehmann, shot Tamir at the Cudell Recreation Center on November 22, 2014, as the boy played with an airsoft pellet gun.

Tamir died early the next day at MetroHealth. His death became one of the catalysts for police reform in Cleveland.

Loehmann was a junior officer in the passenger seat of a patrol car driven by veteran training officer Frank Garmback. The two officers responded to a report that someone pointed a gun at people outside the recreation center. The caller told a 911 dispatcher that the gun looked fake, but a dispatcher never passed this information on to officers. The department suspended Garmback for 10 days, but an arbitrator reduced the suspension to five days.

The city of Cleveland did not fire Loehmann for any action he took in Tamir’s murder in November 2014, but rather for lying in his initial claim about why he quit his previous job in a department. commuter police station. Since then, Loehmann has made several unsuccessful attempts to get back to police in southern Ohio and Cleveland through arbitration.

Cleveland settled a federal civil rights lawsuit with the boy’s family for $ 6 million. A 2015 Cuyahoga County grand jury refused to indict the officers.

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