The prosecutor overseeing the case of the 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by police in a Cleveland park as he played with a toy gun is being blasted for comments he made that suggest the grieving mother of the slain boy has “economic motives.”
Ohio prosecutor Timothy McGinty made the comments at a Thursday event sponsored by a group of Democratic clubs, MSNBC reports. When asked by a reporter whether he would recuse himself from the case — McGinty has come under fire for a number of delays and the releasing of two reports that said the shooting was “reasonable” — the prosecutor launched into a statement that smeared the family of Tamir Rice.
“They waited until they didn’t like the reports they received. They’re very interesting people… let me just leave it at that… and they have their own economic motives,” he said.
An attorney for the family, Subodh Chandra, defended the boy’s mother, Samaria Rice, in a statement to MSNBC Saturday.
“Ms. Rice is shocked and disappointed that the prosecutor—rather than engage the serious, substantive concerns she and her counsel have raised about his bungling of the grand-jury process—has chosen to divert attention by attacking a mother grieving for her 12-year-old son.”
“The prosecutor’s attack on a crime victim’s mother only underscores the urgency that a truly independent prosecutor be appointed, or—given this prosecutor’s continued refusal to fail to step aside to avoid the appearance of impropriety—for him to tell Ms. Rice and the public what his recommendation to the grand jury is before he makes it.”
In October, McGinty released two reports from out-of-state experts before the grand jury convened to determine if the officers involved in Tamir’s death should be charged. Since the child’s death, questions about McGinty’s objectivity in the case have been voiced by both Tamir’s family and activists calling for an indictment. Via MSNBC:
McGinty, a Democrat, has referred the case to a grand jury. But a group of local civil rights attorneys, calling themselves the Cleveland Eight, went before a judge this summer, who in June issued a ruling finding probable cause to charge officer Timothy Loehmann – who shot Rice – with murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide and other charges, and to charge his partner, officer Frank Garmback, with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.
McGinty has ignored the judge’s ruling, saying his office will make a recommendation to the grand jury when its investigation concludes.
Chandra, addressing the experts, said Ms. Rice believes the prosecutor has compromised the grand jury’s process by releasing the reports.
“The U.S. Department of Justice rejected one of the prosecutor’s chosen “expert’s” views, when she tried to exonerate law enforcement involved in killing civilians as too extreme. The other “expert” offered an opinion about Tamir’s death even before reviewing the evidence. Yet the prosecutor doubles down on praising them and then insults Ms. Rice and the counsel who are merely stating her concerns. The prosecutor thus cannot be trusted in the secret process to draw the grand jury’s attention to the flaws in the reports or the writers’ backgrounds,” Chandra wrote.
McGinty’s office played clean-up shortly after Chandra’s defense, saying the prosecutor’s response was not meant to criticize Ms. Rice or question “her right to grieve in any way.”
“We have met with her repeatedly and cooperated with her in every possible manner,” Joseph Frolik, McGinty’s communication and public policy director told MSNBC. “And we will continue to do so.”
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