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Community leaders, activists, and members of clergy in Cleveland, Ohio, hope to sidestep prosecutors and ask a judge directly to bring murder charges against two officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, CNNreports.
The leaders plan to hold a news conference Tuesday in front of the Cuyahoga County Justice Center to explain the strategy, which involves citizens’ affidavits for probable cause to be filed in Cleveland Municipal Court, writes the news outlet. The group will then ask a judge to issue arrest warrants for Cleveland Division of Police Officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann, the report says.
“We are still waiting for the criminal justice system to enact justice in the name of Tamir Rice,” Rev. Jawanza Colvin, pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, said in a statement. “It has been more than six months since his tragic death and, yet, the people still have no answers and no one has been held accountable.”
The statement went on to say that use of the affidavits amounts to citizens “taking matters into their own hands utilizing the tools of democracy as an instrument of justice.”
Tamir was shot by Cleveland police on November 22 while playing with a toy gun on a playground, sparking national outrage over the use of excessive force by police in communities of color. He died a day later.
The child’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Cleveland. The city’s response to the suit blamed the 12-year-old for his own death, prompting the mayor to issue an apology, the report notes.
Findings of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation into the shooting were handed to prosecutors last week.