The sister of Tamir Rice on Thursday met with the Cleveland police oversight board investigating her complaint against the officers who knocked her to the ground after the shooting of her 12-year-old brother.
Tajai Rice, 14, made a formal statement to investigators with the Office of Professional Standards, said Akron-based attorney Walter Madison, part of the legal team representing the Rice family.
“I think he gave Tajai a chance to explain herself in a way that a child would understand,” Madison said. “After having gone through today’s process, they are not dissuaded in their cautious optimism that they will be vindicated, and these officers will be held accountable.”
Surveillance footage first obtained by Northeast Ohio Media Group showed Tajai running to Tamir’s side after Timothy Loehmann fired two shots at the boy, who was carrying an airsoft-style gun.
As the girl neared her brother, Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback, confronted her and forced her to the ground. Loehmann rushed over, and the two knelt beside her as she rolled on the ground. Eventually the officers handcuffed the girl and placed her in the back of the police cruiser, less than 10 feet from her dying brother.
Investigators with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department have not yet ruled whether the shooting was justified. It will hand over all evidence to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, which will then present the case to a grand jury.
The Rice family has also filed a federal civil lawsuit against the officers, the department and the city.