(CLEVELAND, OHIO, 12/29/15) – The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ohio (CAIR-OH) today expressed disappointment at the decision of a grand jury to not indict a white Cleveland police officer in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12 year old African-American child.Â
The case began when a caller to 911 said a male who was â€œprobably a juvenile” was pointing a gun that was “probably fake” at people in a Cleveland park. A Cleveland police officer opened fire, unprovoked, at Rice within seconds of arriving at the park. Rice died a day later from the gun wound. Rice had a toy gun tucked under his shirt that was not visible when shot by officers.
“Along with other Ohioans, we are dismayed by the fact that the investigation took over 13 months. We are also alarmed by the conduct of the prosecutor which may have tainted the outcome of the grand jury,” said CAIR-Cleveland Director Julia Shearson. “This and other similar cases nationwide, point to the urgent need for reforms in police procedures, training, and the grand jury process.”
Shearson also called on the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and Northern District of Ohio US Attorney's office to conduct a thorough civil rights investigation on the death of Tamir Rice and the conduct of the prosecutor in this case. This case follows the recent Department of Justiceâ€™s investigation into the Cleveland Division of Police which found a pattern and practice of excessive use of force by the department. Earlier this year, the Cleveland 8, a group of clergy and community activists, of which Shearson is a member, had also released a video and open letter criticizing the abuse of the grand jury process in the Tamir Rice police shooting case.
CAIR also renews its call for a “national action” to address issues of racism, which it had issued in the aftermath of a Missouri grand jury's decision to not indict the officer who shot Michael Brown.
CAIR-Cleveland is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Cleveland Director, Julia Shearson, 216-440-2247, email@example.com; CAIR-Ohio Staff Attorney, Romin Iqbal, 614-783-7953, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com