08 June 2015

After 6 Months, It's Good That People in Cleveland Have Taken the Law into Their Own Hands

Warning,graphic content
I am not suggesting that anyone has engaged in extrajudicial violence or vigilante acts. Rather I am referring to the fact that community leaders in Cleveland are using a peculiarity in Ohio law to file charges without the police or prosecutors:
Community leaders in Cleveland, distrustful of the criminal justice system, said Monday that they would not wait for prosecutors to decide whether to file charges against the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year. Instead, they will invoke a seldom-used Ohio law and go directly to a judge to request murder charges against the officers.

The highly unusual move is the latest sign that some African-Americans in Cleveland and around the country have lost confidence in a system that they see as too quick to side with police officers accused of using excessive force against blacks.

The investigation into Tamir’s shooting was handed to the county prosecutor last week, but local leaders are skeptical because of how similar cases have ended. In New York, a grand jury did not indict in the death of Eric Garner, who had been put in a chokehold by a police officer. State and federal authorities said there was no evidence to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Last month, prosecutors said a white police officer in Madison, Wis., would not be charged for killing an unarmed 19-year-old man.


Ohio is one of a handful of states that allow residents to request an arrest without approval from the police or prosecutors. It is difficult to know how the case will play out because there is little precedent for a citizen to request an arrest in such a contentious, high-profile case.


By going directly to a judge, community leaders are trying to circumvent that process. Ohio law allows anyone with “knowledge of the facts” to file a court affidavit and ask a judge to issue an arrest warrant. If approved, the arrest would be followed by a public hearing, and community members said that was preferable to allowing prosecutors to make the decision in secret.


Tamir was fatally shot in November while he played in a park. A 911 caller had reported that the boy was waving a gun that was “probably fake.” When officers arrived, they pulled their car into the park, next to the boy. Within two seconds, an officer, Timothy Loehmann, shot Tamir in the abdomen. The boy’s gun, it turned out, was a toy replica of a Colt pistol and fired plastic pellets.

It's been 6 months, and not only have we heard nothing from prosecutors, Officer Timothy Loehmann, who burst from the car with gun blazing at a 12 year old kid, has not even been questioned.

It's about time someone to file charges against the cops.


Post a Comment