A group of activists that include ministers and community activists who are calling themselves the Group of Eight, have used a section of Ohio law that states that private citizens can file affidavits with a judge when they believe a crime has occurred. Thanks to this, they have successfully filed an appeal as of Thursday that seeks to compel a Cleveland municipal judge to file criminal charges against two white police offers who shot a black 12-year-old boy named Tamir Rice in November.
As a result, last week, Municipal Judge Ronald Adrine was able to rule that the affidavits submitted by the Group of Eight and a video of the shooting were enough to charge patrolmen Timothy Loehmann with murder and a misdemeanor as well as his partner, Frank Garmback with a misdemeanor. For now, the filing of the charges has been deferred to prosecutors.
Tamir Rice was shot on November 22, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio after two police officers, Loehmann and Garmback, responded to a call about a male sitting on a swing with a gun. However, the officers apparently did not receive the message that the gun was potentially a fake and that Rice was merely 12-years-old. As a result, when Loehmann and Garmback arrived at the scene, Loehmann immediately fired two shots when Rice reached for the Airsoft replica in his waistband.
Further investigations after the shooting resulted in the determination that Loehmann in his previous job in Independence, Ohio, as a policeman, had been deemed emotionally unstable and unfit for duty, which brings up questions of why he had been allowed to work for Cleveland’s police department.