Cleveland, OH – (1-5-16) The Ohio Green Party and the Cuyahoga County Green Party today have joined the call of activists for the resignation of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.
The recent acquittal of the officers involved in the death of 12 year old Tamir Rice, who was killed within seconds of officers arrival on scene in November of 2014, is a travesty of justice. Mr. McGinty has failed in his role as County Prosecutor and the entire Grand Jury process was suspect from the beginning.
We also call for the firing of officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. Officer Loehmann, who fired the fatal shots, should never have been hired by the Cleveland Police Department in the first place, after being turned down for police departments in Akron, Euclid and Parma Heights as well the Cuyahoga County Sheriffs Department.
Despite the fact that the officers were not given complete information by the dispatcher, their actions that day are inexcusable. By driving to within feet of Tamir, they themselves created a situation where the use of deadly force was virtually assured due to the perceived danger. That perception was erroneous and as a result, a child was slain. Many residents of the city and the across the nation were stunned at the events of that day. It is highly probable that the conditions that lead to Tamir’s death could have been avoided, and should have been. The officers involved must be relieved of their posts. Their negligent actions contributed to the distrust and outright fear many in Cleveland feel for the Cleveland Police Department.
Adding to the problem, the Prosecutors Office made claims of poor tape quality and asserted that Tamir did indeed draw and brandish the toy gun he was in possession of that day. This flies in the face of common sense given the short amount of time before the fatal shots were fired. It is our opinion that Prosecutor McGinty entered the Grand Jury proceedings with a predetermined outcome in mind and used his office to ensure that outcome.
In addition we issue a call to finish the job of county reorganization that was started several years ago.
The Green Party candidate for Cuyahoga County Executive in 2010, David Ellison, said at the time “The reforms of the Cuyahoga County government will not be finished until the office of the County Prosecutor has been made term-limited and non-partisan, and with the additional requirement that a former prosecutor not be eligible for another elected office for a period of at least 2 years after their term as County Prosecutor has ended.”
The County Council has made statements in the past about the reforms being a continuing process, we ask them to take action beyond mere soundbites. Take the politics out of the Prosecutors Office and ensure the steps necessary to begin the process by which public trust can be restored in the criminal justice system.