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Family of Tamir Rice asking DOJ to reopen investigation

On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice was playing with a pellet gun outside of a recreation center in Cleveland, Ohio when he was shot and killed by a white police officer

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Police Deaths Use of Force Legislation FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2014, file photo, demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland during a protest over the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. A wave of police killings of young black men in 2014 prompted 24 states to quickly pass some type of law enforcement reform, but many declined to address the most glaring issue: police use of force. Six years later, only about a third of states have passed laws on the question. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

The family of Tamir Rice is asking the Department of Justice to reopen the investigation into his 2014 death. 

In a letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, Rice’s family asked him to convene a grand jury to consider charges against the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed Rice, CNN reported. 

RELATED: DOJ launches investigation into Minneapolis’ policing policies

According to the publication, part of the letter read, “The election of President Biden, your appointment, and your commitment to the rule of law, racial justice, and police reform give Tamir’s family hope that the chance for accountability is not lost forever.”

On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice was playing with a pellet gun outside of a recreation center in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Timothy Loehmann, a white police officer with the Cleveland Police Department, responded to the center after a man called 9-1-1 and said he saw someone pointing a gun at people. 

Loehmann and his partner responded to the scene and Loehmann then shot and killed the 12-year-old. 

According to the Associated Press, the man who called the police told dispatchers that the gun might be “fake,” but that information was never given to officers. 

To charge an officer with federal civil rights charges in cases like this, the Department of Justice must prove that the officer willfully broke the law. 

In this case, the Justice Department said the poor quality of surveillance video recorded prevented prosecutors from being able to determine if Rice was reaching the pellet gun before he was shot. 

RELATED:  Feds decline charges against officers in Tamir Rice case

Loehmann was fired from the department in May 2017, but not for shooting Rice. He lost his job after investigators found out he lied about his employment history, CNN reported. 

Now that Derek Chauvin has been convicted for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many are calling for other cases of police violence to be reopened and investigated, including  Rice’s case. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing trauma triggered by police violence, resources are available for you here