Family of 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police files suit

His death came at a time of heightened national scrutiny of police use of force, especially against African-Americans.

Family of 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police files suit

World Bulletin/News Desk

The family of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Friday against the city and the officers involved, a day after the federal government found that the city's police systematically uses excessive force against civilians.

Tamir Rice was shot last month while carrying what turned out to be a replica gun that typically fires plastic pellets. His death came at a time of heightened national scrutiny of police use of force, especially against African-Americans.

The suit names both Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Rice on Nov. 22 less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside the boy at a park, and Frank Garmback, who was driving the car.

The officers confronted Rice "in a surprise fashion and fired multiple shots at him without any adequate investigation," the suit said.

The suit, which seeks both "fair compensation," described Rice as an African American sixth grader who loved basketball.

A Cleveland spokesman said the city would not comment on ongoing litigation. Both officers, who are white, are on leave and the incident is being investigated.

The lawsuit noted that Loehmann had resigned from a suburban police department after a bad review which cited his immaturity and "dismal" handgun performance.

Cleveland police warned workers to leave the downtown area before rush hour on Friday in preparation for large protests over the Rice shooting.

The lawsuit cited the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Cleveland police use of force, which was launched after what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called a series of troubling high-profile police use-of-force incidents.

The DOJ report released on Thursday highlighted more than a dozen incidents to illustrate a pattern of departmental misconduct that included officers shooting at low risk suspects, using Tasers and chemical spray on handcuffed or subdued suspects and employing unreasonable force on the impaired or mentally ill.

In one example, police shot, but did not kill, a man wearing only boxer shorts, who was running from a house where he was being held against his will by armed assailants.

Jeffrey Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, said he hoped the DOJ investigation would result in more training and more officers on the street.

Also on Friday, Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, announced the creation of a state task force to improve relations between communities and their police departments.

Last Mod: 06 Aralık 2014, 00:22
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