Tamir Rice's Cousin Speaks Out Following The Non-Indictment
Earlier this week, an Ohio grand jury declined to indict Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old black child Tamir Rice, a decision which sent shockwaves through the city and across the United States. Protests have been ongoing since, just as in previous incidents of unpunished police killings of unarmed black people ― like Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, and Rekia Boyd. And on Friday, as WKYC detailed, a member of Rice's family is taking a public stand: Tamir Rice's cousin is speaking out for the first time since the non-indictment, and she's the first member of his family to personally comment since the non-indictment.
Her name is Latonya Goldsby, and she participated in a march with protesters on Friday, despite by her own account not having much previous experience with organizing and activist work. Back in November, when she helped coordinate bus trips to Cleveland for protesters from Ferguson, Missouri ― the site of the Michael Brown killing, and the subsequent protests and militarized police response that helped the Black Lives Matter movement blow up ― she told WKYC "I've never done this. It's a first for me. I'm very passionate about the things I believe in."
Now, however, she's taking up the cause amid a new reality: absent the filing of federal charges against Loehmann, which is highly unlikely due to the extremely high legal standards required, her cousin's killer will never face legal punishment for what happened.
Specifically, Goldsby is taking on Ohio prosecutor Tim McGinty, whose press conference following Rice's non-indictment drew withering criticism from many activists and legal observers. The prevailing criticism was that McGinty sounded a lot more like a defense attorney than a prosecutor, strenuously trying to validate the grand jury's decision, and casting some pointed blame on the slain 12-year-old himself.
Basically, Goldsby and the protesters want McGinty to resign for his handling of the case, accusing him of sabotaging the state's case against Loehmann. And while that sounds dramatic, it's worth remembering that in his remarks following the decision, he said that he recommended the grand jury not indict ― again, this is the person who was meant to be Rice's advocate in the courtroom, prosecuting the officer. Here's what Goldsby said, according to WKYC.
It’s very important for the community to know that McGinty totally sabotaged the grand jury process in Tamir’s case. We want them to be aware of what he’s doing in his office. The only way to do that is to bring the problem to the person that created the problem… so that’s why we were here today and to let them know that Tamir cannot rest until justice is served.
Goldsby also commented on how Rice's mother Samaria took the news of the non-indictment. While she and the family released a clearly emotional statement through their attorney following the non-indictment, this is the first time someone in the family personally spoke to the experience.
She was very devastated. It was very hard… even holding on to a glimmer of hope that there would be some justice for her son… was just totally ripped away from her.
Goldsby and a reported 100 or so activists eventually descended on McGinty's house, protesting to either force his resignation, or ensure that he's not reelected when his term is up. In particular, they reportedly dropped to the ground as though they were dead for four minutes, a remembrance of the four minutes Rice was left on the ground unattended by officers Loehmann and Frank Garmback before an FBI agent intervened and provided first aid.