The case of slain Cleveland boy Tamir Rice remains a curious matter in the state of Ohio, with news coming forth that the grand jury made potentially questionable moves. According to a new report, the jury neglected to vote on the charges against officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback and is the same jury that decided to not indict the pair.
From The Cleveland Scene:
The grand jury that opted not to indict Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback in the shooting death of Tamir Rice never actually took a vote on the matter, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
What actually happened in the most significant grand jury hearing in county history isn’t quite clear, and the mechanism by which the grand jury “declined to indict” — in Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s own words — is equally unclear.
At the conclusion of a typical grand jury hearing, there are two possible outcomes achieved via vote: a “true bill,” which results in criminal charges and a case number in the court system, or a “no bill,” which is a decision not to bring charges. A “no-bill notification” is signed and stamped and kept on record at the county clerk’s office.
Though Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty never explicitly said the grand jury voted not to indict — nor did he utter the phrase “no bill” — in his Dec. 28 press conference, he declared that that grand jury had declined to indict.
How, then, if not by voting?
After learning and confirming on Jan. 15 that there was no “no-bill notification” on file at the county clerk’s office for the Tamir Rice grand jury proceedings, Scene formally requested the document officially showing the decision, however it was reached, and wherever said document might be. We were told that it didn’t exist. Employees at both the clerk’s and prosecutor’s officers were unable to explain the lack of paperwork.
Tuesday, Scene spoke with Joe Frolik, the communications director for the Prosecutor’s Office, who said no no-bill record exists because, “it’s technically not a no-bill, because they didn’t vote on charges.”
Scene reporters further learned from Frolik this was a so-called investigative grand jury, thus they were bound to decide on whether to vote on charges. What has sparked anger and concerns from Rice’s family is a high possibility the grand jury flubbed on not voting and robbing the family a true shot at justice.
Also of note is the lack of any type of document or correspondence that explains why the vote didn’t happen. Reporters dug deeply to highest levels within the legal system they were given access to only to not yield a desired result.
In a pair of updates given to the Scene, Attorney Jonathan S. Abady, who represents Samaria Rice, said that the family was given assurances that the case would go to a vote before the grand jury. Abady issued a statement this evening, calling the new findings “troubling and disturbing” in regards to the handling of the case.
SOURCE: Cleveland SceneCleveland Scene | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty