It’s been nearly six months since a Cleveland police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice as he played in a park — and county investigators have yet to question the two cops involved in the shooting, according to a report from Mother Jones’s Jaeah Lee.
On November 22, Rice was throwing snowballs and playing with an airsoft gun when a man called 911 because he thought Rice was behaving suspiciously, although he noted the boy’s gun was “probably fake.” Within two seconds of arriving on the scene and getting out of his squad car, officer Timothy Loehmann shot Rice, who died in the hospital the next day. The entire encounter was caught on video, which shows Rice lying on the ground for four minutes before he got any medical care — and that care only came from an FBI agent who happened to be in the area.
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation into the shooting in January. But the investigation has dragged on, now taking longer than the queries into the police killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott.
But in all that time, Mother Jones reported, the sheriff’s office hasn’t questioned Loehmann, who shot the young black boy, or Frank Garmback, the officer who drove the squad car.
As they wait for answers, the Rice family has suffered. Rice’s mom, Samaria Rice, reportedly lived in a homeless shelter for some time because “she could no longer live next door to the killing field of her son.” The family also couldn’t bury Rice’s body for more than five months — in case it was needed for the investigation — but over the past week the family announcedthat he was recently cremated.
The sheriff’s office has said that a majority of its work is complete and a resolution should come in the coming weeks. Investigators will turn over the evidence to a grand jury, which will decide whether to press charges. Depending on the decision, local officials are preparing for protests on the scale of those in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, after Freddie Gray and Michael Brown’s deaths.
Watch: Why it is important to watch the police