As Cleveland authorities and communities still try to sort out the aftermath
of 12-year-old Tamir Rice's death, Cleveland.com asked
Attorney Ian Friedman to impartially review possible charges the police officers responsible
might face. Attorney Friedman was also joined by professor and former
prosecutor Martin Belsky to breakdown the six possible charges proposed
by a Cleveland Municipal Court judge earlier this month.
On November 22, 2014, witnesses called 9-11 and reported that a young man
was brandishing a gun at Cudell Recreation Center. With that information
from dispatch, officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback raced their
squad car up to a gazebo where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was sitting and—within
seconds—shot him. The weapon Rice had on him was later discovered
to be a pellet gun that strongly resembled a pistol.
In the Cleveland.com piece, Attorney Friedman and Professor Belsky review
six possible criminal charges: aggravated murder, murder, involuntary
manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of
duty. Of the key factors in many of these theoretical charges are the
officers' intent and whether or not that acted appropriately given
the information they had.
Other key details include:
- The fact that squad car sirens were not on
- The fact that no witness accounts include the officers saying anything
to Rice before firing
- The fact that the dispatch report to the officers confirmed Rice had a firearm
- How officers are trained and conditioned to respond to potentially lethal
Many Details—Few Answers
In Attorney Friedman's analysis, one thing was made clear: the abundant
details of incident do not lend themselves to easy answers. In both the
theoretical prosecution and defense strategies parsed, many had viable
evidence to support its reasons.
"They [defense counsel] could try to show that Loehmann was put in
an impossible situation when Tamir reached for his waist, where the gun
was known to be, leaving him with no choice," Attorney Friedman offered
while considering a hypothetical murder charge. Demonstrating the ambiguity
of the evidence, however, Friedman later offered this for the theoretical
reckless homicide charge: "I think [prosecutors] are going to say...
they [police] did not have to go in like that. Had they stopped farther
away and given their orders, Tamir would still be alive."
Read all of Attorney Friedman's analysis on Cleveland.com's "Legal
experts break down possible charges in Tamir Rice case" here.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, then we implore you
Ian N. Friedman now. A dedicated and sought-after litigator, Attorney Friedman has built
his reputation as a premier Cleveland criminal defense lawyer with his
track record of favorable results for his clients, even in difficult,
You do not have to face your charges alone—get the advocacy you deserve.
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