Tamir Rice: All Relevant Evidence

More than a year has passed since Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann executed Tamir Rice.  Had Tamir shot Loehmann, he would have been indicted within the hour. The story is that a grand jury presentment commenced in October and is ongoing, because of empty words like “justice.”

But the other Timothy, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty, is riding the coattails of the Big Lie sold America following the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, that the charging step is performed with extreme caution, intricate evidence and all relevant evidence.

After McGinty obtained “expert” opinions validating the tragedy that couldn’t be helped, lawyers representing the Rice family obtained their own.

At the legal team’s request, police procedures consultant Roger Clark and former deputy police chief of the Irvine Police Department Jeffry J. Noble, both California-based nationally renowned experts in police use-of-force issues, pored over investigative material and determined the shooting was not justified.

Clark and Noble, in a combined 31 pages of documents, reasoned that officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback placed themselves in harm’s way by driving within feet of Tamir and shooting him Nov. 22, 2014 outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland’s West Side.

Where the prosecution’s experts focused exclusively on the moment in time when the trigger was pulled, the family’s experts considered the totality of the circumstances and reached the opposite conclusion.

The experts also partially blamed the shooting on a culture of corruption in the Cleveland police department that tolerates misconduct. They condemned the department for hiring Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Tamir,  without examining his file from a former job that described him as an inept officer.

The officers’ poor tactical decision-making and systemic failures within the department resulted in a death of a child that was “completely avoidable…and should never have occurred,” Clark wrote.

But these grand condemnations were backed up with details.

“Reasonable police officers responding to a man-with-a-gun call would have stopped their vehicle prior to entering the park to visually survey the area to avoid driving upon a subject who may be armed,” Noble wrote.

Clark also noted that the officers couldn’t have known for sure whether Tamir was the subject being described by the 911 caller. The caller said the person was on the swings, but Tamir was seated at a table in the gazebo when police arrived.

“In my opinion there was nothing in the dispatch information that would positively identify Tamir as the certain target of the call to the responding officers,” Clark wrote.

This last detail, that at the time Loehmann murdered Tamir Rice, he had yet to establish that the person in front him was the individual about whom the 911 call was made.

While Loehmann has not provided an official statement in the investigation, a report from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department shows that Loehmann says that he yelled commands to Tamir before he shot him.

But the fact that Loehmann shot the boy within 1.7 seconds of exiting the car proves that he did not give any verbal commands to Tamir, much less give him time to act on them, Noble wrote. The video makes it clear that there was no time for a “meaningful exchange” between the two.

And then he was dead.

All of this, they wrote, goes against a basic tenet of policing that deadly force should only be used as a last resort and when someone is danger of dying or being seriously hurt.

But that’s just what the law demands. The cop on the scene doesn’t await risk of death because he follows the First Rule of Policing, make it home for dinner. If it ever reaches the point where there is actual risk, he’s waited too long. That is when a cop might be harmed, and no police officer is prepared to knowingly risk his life to avoid the needless killing of another.

But McGinty will not rest on a war of experts in the grand jury, which would be happening at trial had the murder been committed by anyone other than a cop. He’s pulled out all stops to absolve Loehmann while maintaining the fictional narrative that allows people to feel good about how fair it all seems.

Enhanced surveillance images of the Tamir Rice shooting offer a closer look at what appears to be the boy walking toward a Cleveland police cruiser, reaching for his waist and lifting his arm and shoulder in the split-second before a police officer shot him.

The images are among 326 released Saturday night by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty that offer frame-by-frame analysis of what two surveillance cameras captured during the Nov. 22, 2014 shooting outside the Cudell Recreation Center.

Important news is always broken on Saturday nights, especially when it’s been brewing for long periods of time. The 326 images were manufactured by Grant Fredericks of Forensic Video Solutions:

Fredericks is a contract instructor at the FBI National Academy and is “one of the most experienced video experts in North America,” according to the company’s website.

Text overlays detail what is seen in certain images.

This is quite an interesting trick being played, as both the isolated images and the editorialized text combine to fix an excuse designed to overwhelm independent determination of what is seen with “expert” rationalization. (See images, numbers 122-124.)

As the nose of the cruiser moves past Tamir, the boy moves his right arm toward his waist.

In the next frame, Tamir walks toward the moving cruiser and continues moving his right arm toward his waist. The cruiser’s passenger door opens.

The next frame shows Tamir lift his right shoulder and arm. The cruiser remains in motion as officer Timothy Loehmann springs from the passenger seat.

A frame later, Loehmann shoots Tamir.

To the unsuspecting, each description sneaks in a conclusory editorial comment that goes beyond fact to purpose. An arm may move downward, but was it moving toward the waist? That’s a baseless conclusion, included in text for the purpose of prejudicing the viewer’s perception of the purpose of the motion.

The revelation of these reports, these editorialized images, are all made under the rubric of transparency, which is a catchword designed to appeal to the public’s sense of fairness and openness, our collective voyeurism and expectation that the prosecutor not absolve Loehmann in secrecy.

But it is false transparency, where we are being spoonfed sophisticated manufactured evidence designed to justify Loehmann’s absolution. These reports and images, with their editorialized text, were created to mold our vision, to confirm bias rather than to present fact.  Most Americans aren’t equipped to overcome manipulation. They will believe. They want to believe.

The lengths to which Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty has gone to justify the murder of Tamir Rice, a killing that won’t go away after more than a year of delay, are beyond extraordinary.  The question remains, will it work?  Will we be left with sadness at the “tragedy” but the vague sense that it couldn’t be prevented? Even though it could and should.

H/T Cornflake S. Pecially

7 comments on “Tamir Rice: All Relevant Evidence

  1. John Barleycorn

    1) The Big Lie
    2) Extreme Caution
    3) Relevant Evidence

    1,2,3 simple as that. See how easy that was! In one paragraph you have already came up with three chapter titles. All of which would could be the title of that book someone is going to write that might even include a few chapters about just how that “other jury” has been used and abused so many times that its grand history and function may never be realized before it completely vanishes from existence and all that’s left is a teleprompter and all that is seen is a prosecutor.

    Heck, all the folks at Simon & Schuster are gonna have to do is come up with a subtitle and figure out a sexy way to reword “charging step”.

    McGinty claims “This process is a wide open search for the truth.” That might actually ring true one day. Then again, maybe not. Either way no one said it was going to be simple.

    ——RIP Tamir——

    P.S. I bet whoever writes this book is gonna get to show off the wristwatch they are wearing in green rooms throughout the country. And if that ain’t enough motivition to reward the human element of such a nobel and selfless undertaking I bet they will also get a few metric tones of very interesting letters in the mail. A few of which might even start some conversations that may blow the doors off what was once considered impossible “reform”.

      1. John Barleycorn

        Maybe!

        A subtle yet bold reminder that in the end, you really only get to go around the dial once. Underscoring the hidden intricacies and importance of getting it right with just the right emphasis on how much time there really is in a day to get shit done.

        Yup, I can definitely see the author of such a book sporting such a watch.

      2. Patrick Maupin

        Why are you changing the subject? The real issue here is that Barleycorn is still cogent. We need to get him into relapse, stat. Charlie Sheen might have the contact info for a good facility.

  2. Patrick Maupin

    … after more than a year of delay …

    Yeah, the prosecutors really know when to push to get stuff done and when to delay.

    With a non-cop, the delay happens after the outrage has already generated the indictment and the 20 gazillion dollar bail, so when trial rolls around, the unspoken conclusion is “he’s been in jail for 3 years; obviously that’s where he belongs.”

    The question remains, will it work. Will we be left with sadness at the “tragedy” but the vague sense that it couldn’t be prevented?

    That’s obviously McGinty’s goal here, and, judging by history, he stands a good chance of getting away with it. Immunity removes accountability — in a saner universe, McGinty might be in jail for attempting to cover up a crime.

    If only Tamir Rice had had the sense to be shot by a gang member who wasn’t wearing blue, there might at least be some justice.

    RIP, Tamir. Far too soon; far too senseless.

  3. W. Vann Hall

    “[A] report from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department shows that Loehmann says that he yelled commands to Tamir before he shot him.”

    Would that have been a trigger warning?

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