Rice’s family has waited more than a year for Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty to build a case against the two Cleveland police officers involved in the 12-year-old’s shooting. The family has made demands for McGinty to be removed from the case, but he said he’s not going anywhere. So, today, the family called for reinforcements.
In a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and two lieutenants, the Rice family requested that the Department of Justice launch an independent investigation into Tamir’s death. The letter details the mockery that McGinty has made of this case thus far, including soliciting three outside expert reports that all justified the shooting. Perhaps the most striking thing, however, is how the letter describes the behavior of McGinty’s prosecutors during grand jury proceedings.
After noting McGinty’s “unusual step” of requesting the Rice family to gather evidence, the letter details how prosecutors badgered the expert witnesses the family found. Rather than being allowed to present their findings, the letter states, “the prosecutors immediately launched into an improper cross-examination that included smirking and mocking the experts, pointing a toy gun in an expert’s face, and suggesting that the experts were not sufficiently concerned with preserving the police officers’ ‘liberty interest,’” a phrase that refers to due process.
Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will review the family’s request. But it’s long been clear that this case merits the attention of the attorney general.