Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, will not face charges.
Loehmann, who is white, killed Rice, an African-American, last year after he brandished a toy gun outside a Cleveland rec center. The New York Times' Mitch Smith notes that the 911 caller who reported seeing Rice's toy "cautioned that Tamir was probably a juvenile and that the weapon was 'probably fake.'"
However, that information was never relayed to Loehmann or the other responding officer, Frank Garmback.
At a press conference announcing that neither officer would face charges, according to reporters in attendance, prosecutors repeatedly referred to Rice as a "man" and his toy as a "gun." One prosecutor even reportedly noted Rice wore size 36 pants as evidence that he looked older than his 12 years.
Timothy J. McGinty, the county prosecutor who announced there would be no charges, said that while “this was a perfect storm of human error,” the evidence “did not constitute criminal action by police,” and that the benefit of the doubt must be given to a police officer “who must make a split second decision.”
"We don't second-guess police officers," another prosecutor said.
Last month, a police department where Loehmann had previously worked released a letter from a supervisor stating Loehmann "could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal." Loehmann resigned from that department, but the Cleveland police department did not review his personnel file before hiring him, the Times reports.
In May, Cleveland agreed to a sweeping consent decree with the Justice Department that called for changes in how officers use and report force, and placed the police under the supervision of an independent monitor.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.