Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tamir Rice article...Congresswoman Fudge, other elected officials, community activists, clergy and labor leaders sign petition demanding that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty push for criminal charges against Cleveland police that shot and killed Tamir Rice.... McGinty protected 12 of the 13 non-Black Cleveland cops that gunned down unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Tim Russell with 137 bullets from prosecution....By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

Tamir Rice
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio (D-11)

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473.  Coleman, who is Black, is a 22-year investigative journalist and political and legal reporter who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-11), a Warrensville Heights Democrat whose majority Black 11th congressional district includes the city of Cleveland, is the honorary chair of a Tamir Rice petition, a petition signed also by some Cleveland city council members, members of Cuyahoga County Council, two state senators, other elected officials, community activists, and members of the faith-based and labor communities of greater Cleveland./

Nick Martin, the executive director of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, is also among the notables supporting the initiative.

The petition, with some 85 signatures thus far, demands criminal charges against the two White Cleveland police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Rice last November and is directed to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who is White, and a former common pleas judge.

A county grand jury is expected to hear evidence in the case in coming months to decide whether indictments of criminal charges will be issued.

Rice had a toy pellet gun that he allegedly was pointing at people at a public park on the city's largely White west side before White police officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann arrived following a 9-1-1 call where the dispatcher that took the call was reportedly told that Tamir was a kid and that the gun was likely a toy gun.  

Surveillance video shows no crowd when the two officers zoom up on the young boy in a police cruiser and Loehmann shoots Rice instantly, an action that some signing the petition say warrants at least charges of negligent homicide, though others told Cleveland Urban News.Com that they want charges too of dereliction of duty, aggravated murder, murder, and voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

Rice's older sister, who witnessed the incident, told reporters that police said raise your shirt and then shot her younger brother twice in the abdomen, and then allegedly claimed later that Rice, who was Black, went for his toy gun. The boy died the day of the shooting at a local hospital.

McGinty is controversial. He successfully lobbied a county grand jury not to indict 12 of 13 Cleveland cops that gunned down unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy  Russell in 2012 following a high speed car chase that began in downtown Cleveland and ended in a middle school parking lot in neighboring East Cleveland.

Only patrolman Michael Brelo was indicted in that case, on two counts of voluntary manslaughter, and for slinging 49 of the 137 bullets that he and his fellow 12 officers, none of them Black, fired at Williams and Russell (Editor's note: Brelo's bench trial began on Monday, April 6 at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in downtown Cleveland before Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell).

The only members of the 17-member Cleveland City Council to sign the petition to date for McGinty to push for charges relative to the killing of Rice are Kevin Conwell, vice chair of city council's safety committee, and Brian Cummins.

Members of the 11- member Cuyahoga County Council that signed on are Anthony Hairston, Dale Miller, and Yvonne Conwell, the wife of Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell.

State Sen. Sandra Williams (D-21), a Cleveland Democrat, and state Sen. Michael Skindell (D-23), a Lakewood Democrat, also signed the petition, as did three suburban council persons representing Woodmere, Fairvew Park and the city of Maple Heights.

Two dozen clergy of greater Cleveland have signed on, most of whom are Black, and include the Rev. Tony Minor, Rev. Lorenzo Norris, Rev. Sara Ross, Rev. Waltrina Middleton, and the Rev. Charles See, who leads Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries' Community Re-Entry Program for people returning from prison.

Labor leaders supporting the petition include Democratic operative Lane Dunbar, Workers United Local 178 President Wanda Navarro, Mark Davis, who is the Cleveland regional director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and David Sheagley, the legislative and political organizer for the American Federation of Government Employees, District 6.

Community activists supporting the endeavor include Dr. Stewart Robinson of Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor, William Clarence Marshall of the Carl Stokes Brigade, Cleveland Renaissance Movement Leader Basheer Jones, Richard Peery, and Julia Shearson, executive director of the Cleveland and northern Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Others associated with the petition drive that organizers said will go on for the next couple of weeks before petitions are presented to Prosecutor McGinty include Cleveland NAACP Executive Board Member Meryl Tolbert Johnson, Lillian Sharpley and Karolyn Isnhart of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, and Rick Nagin and Janet Garcia, both of whom have made failed bids for a seat on Cleveland City Council. 

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