Tamir Rice's Family Comments On Cleveland Officer's Acquittal & Prays For A Different Outcome In Their Case

Following the acquittal of Cleveland officer Michael Brelo of the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, Tamir Rice’s family is demanding that criminal charges are filed against the officers involved in fatal shooting of the 12-year-old boy. On Saturday — the same day that the verdict came in on Brelo — Tamir’s grandfather, Eugene Rice spoke to protestors outside of the Cudell Recreation Center, where the boy was killed on Nov. 22. Despite the fact that Friday marked the six-month anniversary of the boy’s death, the family is still awaiting a resolution. And, according to Eugene, the Rice family is none too happy about that.

I can’t stand around and be peaceful. I’m mad as hell.

At this point in time, no officers have been charged in Tamir’s death. Moreover, Eugene believes that Mayor Frank Jackson and other Cleveland officials are trying to avoid dealing with Tamir’s death. After seeing Brelo acquitted for firing multiple shots at two people following a high-speed car chase, the Rice family is demanding that the same ruling does not happen in Tamir’s case and that someone is held accountable for the boy’s death. Tamir Rice’s cousin, LaTonya Goldsby, said she wants charges to be filed against Timothy Loehmann, the officer responsible for shooting Tamir.

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But as the family pushes for justice in Tamir’s death, they are remembering the importance of remaining calm throughout their efforts. While Goldsby called for Loehmann to be charged, she also called on the crowd to pray for the family.

We have to try and find light in this tragedy.

A reverend at the gathering on Saturday reminded the crowd of 300 that while they should continue to push for change and for justice, they should not allow themselves to be overtaken by emotion. Rev. Irma Williams reminded the protestors to ensure that their voices are heard, but to make sure that their voices remain calm and measured.

A violent voice will be ignored.

Williams’ sentiment matches the larger sentiment of the Cleveland community, including that of city officials. According to The Washington Post, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson is determined to avoid the sort of retaliatory violence that was recently seen in Baltimore, for instance. In light of the recent Brelo case and the ongoing Tamir case, city officials have been holding meetings with both protest groups and community members. In a recent statement, Jackson said:

It is my expectation that protests remain peaceful and do not undermine the progress this community has made ... We are all one Cleveland and we want the same thing: peace, dialogue and positive change.

The Rice family would likely agree.

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