Two weeks ago, I declared the murder of Tamir Rice to be my Outrage of the Year for 2015. Now I have to add a Footnote to that.
As I expect know, the Grand Jury did not indict Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland cop who shot Tamir Rice to death, a decision that Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy McGinty admits he lead the panel to make.
In defending himself and the Grand Jury, McGinty presented what amounted to a defense attorney's summation of the case. The point here is that in the course of that, he said that "the actions of the officers during the events leading up to the deadly force encounter" are not legally relevant to evaluating "the split-second judgments made immediately before the deadly force incident."
That is flat out false. Period. As two experts cited by the Rice family note, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Ohio, had found in 2008 that
Where a police officer unreasonably places himself in harm's way, his use of deadly force may be deemed excessive.
If in fact McGinty told the Grand Jury that the cops' behavior was "not legally relevant," then he flat out lied to the panel. Either that or he and his office are so ignorant of the relevant law that he is incompetent to hold his office.
But here then is the question: What are the consequences for prosecutors who lie to a grand jury? Not in some hypothetical perfect legally-correct world, but in reality. Is it in fact illegal? And even if it is, who is going to prosecute them? Who is going to prosecute the prosecutor?
This whole thing stinks worse than ever.
Sources cited in links: