Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine stated probable cause was found to charge Cleveland police Officer Timothy Loehmann with murder for shooting the child as he played with a pellet gun in November. Loehmann fatally shot Tamir just seconds after arriving on the scene at a recreation center in Ohio. Adrine also noted a negligent homicide charge may be set against Officer Frank Garmback, Loehmann’s partner who watched the incident unfold.
In his 10-page ruling, Adrine called the video “hard to watch,” saying he was “thunderstruck by how quickly this turned deadly.” As Loehmann and Garmback look on and as at least six other officers arrive on the scene, it appears that Tamir is left to lie wounded on the ground for eight minutes with no indication that anyone is trying to help him, Adrine wrote.
The Cleveland 8, a group of local activists who filed affidavits with the court, were thanked by the Rice family in a statement following the news. Adrine’s statements are not actual charges, however they are the beginning of a process to see the men brought to justice during their trial in front of a grand jury.
“Judge Ronald Adrine heard the pleas of the Cleveland 8, took into consideration the affidavits provided and determined there was probable cause to issue a warrant for Officers Loehmann and Garmback,” the Rice family said in a statement. “We are grateful that the wheels of justice are starting to turn.”
Prosecutor Timothy McGinty says he still plans to bring the case to a grand jury.
“This case, as with all other fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go the Grand Jury,” McGinty said. “Ultimately the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged.”
The men also face charges of reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, and dereliction of duty against Loehmann. Adrine did not, however, support aggravated murder, the most serious charge the Cleveland 8 sought.