It's been nearly a year since the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir
Rice by two Cleveland police officers. Now, as public outcry for criminal
charges against the involved officers persists, Cleveland.com turned to
Attorney Ian Friedman and a panel of fellow experts to examine what charges
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty might realistically pursue.
Their conclusions were not favorable towards a criminal conviction.
"I don't think anyone today, without knowing what the defense's
actual defense is, could state they acted negligently," Friedman
stated, speaking about a theoretical negligent homicide charge. "Overall,
this is a very tragic situation, but I think this is a case best suited
for a civil courtroom."
Additionally, Attorney Friedman did not think reckless homicide or involuntary
manslaughter charges held a potential for convictions either, saying both
would have serious "hurdles" for McGinty to overcome. In the
case of the reckless homicide, Friedman predicts that any argument that
officers' aggressive driving during the incident could be blamed on
the soggy ground from recent rain. An involuntary manslaughter charge
would require proving that the officers violated police policy, which
expert investigations have already largely dispelled.
Other charges that Ian Friedman and the panel thought were unlikely:
- Aggravated murder
- Voluntary manslaughter
Uncertain Next Steps
Earlier this month, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office released
two new reports written by experts that concluded that, while the circumstances
of the Rice shooting were tragic, both involved officers—Timothy
Loehmann and Frank Garmback—acted reasonably. McGinty and his office
have had to defend the findings, saying "Any suggestion that this
office is protecting police is baseless and soundly rebutted when our
record of prosecutions against police is reviewed."
Rice's death was one of many high-profile police killings of African
American males in the last year. Along with the deaths of Eric Garner
in New York, Freddie Gray in Maryland, Walter Scott in South Carolina,
Eric Harris in Oklahoma, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and others,
Rice's death continues to spark outrage and protests among communities
all over the country calling for justice. As Attorney Friedman pointed
out in his analysis, there are few easily acquired legal answers in these
cases and proper restitution may be better sought in a civil courtroom.
If you are facing a criminal accusation, then the time to speak with proven
and effective defense counsel is now.
Ian N. Friedman is one of the most sought-after Cleveland criminal defense attorneys in
Ohio and has successfully navigated nationally-covered cases for his clients.
No matter how serious the charges, he and his team ensure that his clients'
rights are protected and voices are heard before our criminal justice system.
Reductions and acquittals can be possible. Start exploring your defense
options with a
free case evaluation.