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Tamir Rice Grand Jury Irregularity

It now appears that the Tamir Rice Grand Jury my not have been legal…And that no Vote of the Jury as required by law was ever taken. This further reinforces the belief that the entire thing was a sham, set up by the prosecutor…

Report: Tamir Rice Grand Jury Never Actually Voted on Whether to Indict Officers

The grand jury that declined to indict two police officers in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice never actually voted on whether to bring charges, an investigative report from Cleveland says, leaving open the question of how the controversial decision was actually reached.

The alt-weekly Cleveland Scene‘s report revolves around the concept of the “no-bill,” which is the name for a grand jury’s formal decision—arrived at by voting—not to bring charges in a given case. (The opposite of a “no-bill” is a “true bill,” i.e. a decision to indict.) When Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced on Dec. 28 that officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback would not be charged in Rice’s death, he said only that the grand jury “declined to indict” the officers, leading many observers to assume that a no-bill had been voted on. But the Cleveland Scene‘s reporters could find no documentation of such a decision, and a spokesman for the Cuyahoga prosecutor’s office responded to the publication’s queries by saying that there had been no vote.

Two area law professors told the Scene they had never heard of a grand jury behaving in such a way. What’s more, reporters were unable to find any official documentation in the Cleveland court system of the grand jury having concluded its business:

We were then directed to the Cuyahoga County grand jury office. Wednesday morning, a clerk there told Scene that the “mysterious document” may or may not exist and that, even if it does, it could only be provided to us via court order by Administrative and Presiding Judge John J. Russo … Russo, who spoke to Scene by phone, professed to be as confused as we were. “When you say ‘document,’ I’m not sure what you mean. I don’t know what that is. It’s either a true bill or a no bill,” he said.

But actually, no.

His staff determined Wednesday that a “no-bill” had never been filed.

What any of this means for Rice’s case is unclear. A lawyer representing the Rice family said the lack of a no-bill could constitute another indication that McGinty—who formally recommended against indicting Loehmann and Garmback andpresented expert reports to the grand jury that backed up his recommendation—had not taken the idea of prosecution seriously.

A federal investigation into Rice’s death is reportedly ongoing; Rice’s family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers involved.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Walter Scott Murderer Granted Bail

Many states won’t grant bail in Capital crimes…Just another one of those insider deals for “special people”…

Beginning to look like they guy appointed to “oversee” the case is another one of those “special DA’s” whose job is to let the bad cop off.

Michael Slager, S.C. Cop Who Killed Unarmed Motorist Walter Scott, Granted $500,000 Bond

Michael Slager, the North Charleston, South Carolina, cop who killed Walter Scott as he was running away — which was all dramatically captured on chilling cell-phone video — was granted bond Monday after a judge expressed concerns that it was taking too long to bring him to trial.

A grand jury indicted Slager, 34, on a charge of murder after the video surfaced of him shooting Scott, 50, eight times after Scott had turned his back and fled after a daytime traffic stop on April 4.

Scott was black and Slager is white, and the shooting renewed tension in the coastal town over alleged excessive police use of force and systemic racism.

Slager was denied bond in September, but state Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, whom the state Supreme Court appointed to oversee the sensitive case, said Monday that he could go free on house arrest on a $500,000 surety bond.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Monday evening had indicated that Slager was freed after posting bond, but it later said he was still in custody as of 6 p.m. ET.

Slager’s trial isn’t scheduled until Oct. 31 — more than a year and a half after Scott’s death — because prosecutors said they had to give precedence to the trial of Dylann Roof in the June shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is scheduled for July.

Slager’s lawyers argued that keeping him in jail that long without trial was tantamount to punishing him for a crime he hadn’t been convicted of yet.

Under a typical surety bond, Slager would have to put up 10 percent of the order — in this case, $50,000 of personal funds — to engage a third party to guarantee he will show up for court appearances. Newman said Slager would be able to leave his home only for court hearings and to visit his attorneys, doctors or church.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Chicago – Judge Finds Prosecutor Hid Evidence in Police Murder

The possibility of real justice in Chicago…

Judge finds city lawyer hid evidence in Chicago police shooting, orders new trial

Chicago police officer Gildardo Sierra, left, and Darius Pinex.

A top city attorney intentionally concealed crucial evidence in a civil trial over a fatalChicago police shooting and then lied about his reasons for doing so, a federal judge ruled Monday in a scathing opinion.

In overturning the jury’s verdict and ordering a new trial, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang imposed sanctions against the city and Senior Corporation Counsel Jordan Marsh, ordering that they pay attorney’s fees to the plaintiffs that likely will amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars even before a retrial could take place.

“Attorneys who might be tempted to bury late-surfacing information need to know that, if discovered, any verdict they win will be forfeit and their clients will pay the price,” Chang wrote in his 72-page opinion. “They need to know it is not worth it.”

Chang faulted lax training and oversight at the city’s Law Department for hampering the production of records from the Chicago Police Department and other city agencies when officers are accused of misconduct.

Steve Greenberg, an attorney who represents the family of the man who was killed, said the ruling raises questions about the Law Department’s role in perpetuating a code-of-silence police culture in which officers believe they can act with impunity. If the city’s attorneys appear willing to cover up wrongdoing, the officers will feel empowered to behave in any manner they deem fit, he said.

“There’s just a total disregard for the truth, and it runs to the highest levels,” Greenberg said. “There is a culture to cover up and win at all costs.”

A Law Department spokesman had no immediate comment Monday. Thomas Leinenweber, an attorney who represents Marsh, did not immediately respond to an email or phone call seeking comment.

The embarrassing setback for the city comes amid continuing fallout over the unrelated police shooting of 17-year-oldLaquan McDonald in October 2014. The scandal that erupted in November after video was released showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times prompted the U.S. Justice Department to launch a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the use of force by Chicago police.

Chang’s ruling reverses a decision last April in which a federal jury found in favor of Officers Raoul Mosqueda and Gildardo Sierra, concluding they were justified in killing Darius Pinex during a January 2011 traffic stop on Chicago’s South Side. Both officers testified at the trial that they had pulled Pinex’s Oldsmobile over because it matched a description they had heard over their police radios of a car wanted in an earlier shooting.

In a front-page story in September, the Tribune detailed how the officers’ account of what precipitated their encounter with Pinex had begun to unravel in the midst of the trial.

According to court records, Sierra and Mosqueda did not hear the dispatch as they originally claimed because it aired over a different radio zone. It wasn’t until the middle of the trial that Marsh admitted — outside the presence of the jury — that he had failed to turn over a recording of the dispatch that actually went out over the officers’ Zone 6 radios that night, a call that talked about a different Oldsmobile Aurora that didn’t match Pinex’s car and was not wanted in connection with a shooting.

Marsh first said he had learned about the recording that day, then later said he had actually found out about it the week before trial. When the judge pressed Marsh on why he hadn’t disclosed the existence of the recording as soon as he learned of it from a police sergeant, the lawyer backpedaled more, saying it hadn’t crossed his mind that it would be something that might be helpful to the plaintiffs.

“My thought process was, I want to see what is on that (recording),” he said. “You know in retrospect I think I should have, but I wanted to talk to the sergeant and to see whether it was even relevant.”

In his ruling, Chang said Marsh, a seasoned attorney who for years has defended police accused of wrongdoing, “intentionally concealed” the existence of the emergency dispatch and then misled the court about his thought process for withholding it.

“After hiding the information, despite there being numerous times when the circumstances dictated he say something about it, Marsh said nothing, and even made misleading statements to the court when the issue arose,” Chang wrote. “… That an experienced lawyer like Marsh did not even consider the possibility that this evidence might not go his way is unlikely to the extreme.”

The judge also found that Marsh’s co-counsel, city attorney Thomas Aumann, had failed to make a reasonable effort to find the dispatch recording during the initial discovery process. In sanctioning the city for Aumann’s actions, Chang said the Law Department’s practices put its attorneys “at risk” for violating discovery rules because of a lack of training on how to request and collect documents and evidence.

Chang said the city’s attorneys showed a lack of understanding about what evidence is preserved by police and how to ask for it — including detectives’ reports, emergency recordings, computer logs and inventories from arrests.

The judge said that with tight budgets and overworked staff, he understands city lawyers “have a tough job” in responding to discovery requests involving a Police Department that preserves such a massive quantity of records. But that’s all the more reason to instill procedures to minimize mistakes, he said.

“Failing to do so will cost even more in the long run, not just in dollars,” the judge wrote.

 

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Tamir Rice Murderer Let Off

Here we go again with special injustice…

No Indictment For Cop Who Fatally Shot 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice

The decision came nearly 400 days after the boy was killed while playing in a Cleveland park.

An Ohio grand jury has declined to indict the Cleveland police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black 12-year-old in 2014.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced the decision Monday afternoon, nearly 400 days since rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir Rice after responding to the scene with veteran officer Frank Garmback. The grand jury also declined to indict Garmback.

In statements filed with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, both officers claimed they repeatedly yelled at Tamir to “show me your hands.” But surveillance video shows that Loehmann opened fire within two seconds of emerging from the police cruiser driven by Garmback.

McGinty on Monday called Tamir’s death a “perfect storm of human error,” not a criminal act.

“The outcome will not cheer anyone,” McGinty said, but he noted that Loehmann’s assessment that he was about to be shot was “a mistaken but sincere belief” given the stress of the situation.

“It would be irresponsible and unreasonable if law required a police officer to wait and see if the gun was real,” McGinty said. 

On Nov. 22, 2014, Loehmann and Garmback were dispatched to investigate 911 calls about a “guy with a gun” pulling a weapon from his waistband and pointing it at people. The gun was later determined to be an airsoft pellet gun.

Officers said they believed Tamir to be a man in his 20s, given his size, and said the orange safety tip on his toy gun was missing. An expert hired by McGinty’s office conceded in a November report that dispatchers should have relayed to responding officers the 911 caller’s observations that “the guy with a gun” was “probably a juvenile” and that the gun was “probably fake.”

Tamir’s family reportedly was not briefed on the outcome of the grand jury investigation before Monday’s announcement, but it was an end they had anticipated. 

In a statement released immediately after the announcement of no indictment, Jonathan Abady, an attorney for Tamir’s family, said they were “saddened and disappointed” by the outcome, but not surprised. The family also renewed their calls for the Justice Department to make an independent investigation into the case.

“It has been clear for months now that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty was abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment,” Abady said in the statement. “Even though video shows the police shooting Tamir in less than one second, Prosecutor McGinty hired so-called expert witnesses to try to exonerate the officers and tell the grand jury their conduct was reasonable and justified. It is unheard of, and highly improper, for a prosecutor to hire ‘experts’ to try to exonerate the targets of a grand jury investigation.”

Tamir’s family and their advocates have been highly critical of McGinty’s office during what they considered an unreasonably lengthy and biased investigation.

McGinty’s office released three expert reports over the past few months, all of which concluded Tamir’s fatal shooting to be “reasonable.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) in a statement Monday called Tamir’s death a “heartbreaking tragedy” but urged the community not to give in to “anger and frustration.”

“We have made progress to improve the way communities and police work together in our state, and we’re beginning to see a path to positive change so everyone shares in the safety and success they deserve,” Kasich said.

The Justice Department said Monday it would continue its review of the case and “determine what actions are appropriate, given the strict burdens and requirements imposed by applicable federal civil rights laws.”

In May, the DOJ concluded an 18-month investigation into the Cleveland Police Department. Its scathing report found that officers in Cleveland routinely use unjustifiable force against not only criminals and suspects, but also innocent victims of crimes.

McGinty’s office on Monday took pains to note that officers face deadly threats in the line of duty and called for “deference” to the officer’s on-the-scene judgment of how much force is necessary.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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More on that Alabama Police Department Planting Evidence to Falsely Convict Black Men

A group of 11 Dothan Alabama Police systematically planted drugs and guns on innocent black suspects for nearly 20 year in a conspiracy by a white supremacist group of officers. At least 1,000 –  and possibly more young black men were falsely convicted.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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Is “The Fix” In on the Tamir Rice Investigation?

Commented that the two “experts” hired by the DA were questionable, at best in my last blog on this. In June, a judge found “ample probable cause” for the DA to file charges…But so far no charges have been filed.

Further, in the Kangaroo Grand Jury, neither officer has been requested to testify.

Things appear to following the path of the Michael Brown Grand Jury.

Is the grand jury process stacked in favor of the cop who killed the 12-year-old?

Tamir Rice’s sister and mother at the park where the 12-year-old was gunned down.

On Saturday, October 10, the prosecutor overseeing the Tamir Rice grand jury investigation released two reports authored by independent experts and concluding that Timothy Loehmann, the cop who killed the 12-year-old African American boy in Cleveland last November, acted within the law. The Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Timothy McGinty, knew this was an unusual move to make during grand jury proceedings. “Historically, the norm in most places has been that there’s an incident, and then a long investigation shrouded in secrecy, followed by a conclusion that sometimes mystifies large segments of the public,” a spokesperson for McGinty’s office told Mother Jones regarding the publication of the two reports. “We’re trying to break that pattern.”

But the reports have sparked outrage from Rice’s family and supporters, who saythe grand jury investigation amounts to “a charade aimed at whitewashing” and are demanding that a special prosecutor take over the case. Some legal experts suggest that the reports could improperly influence the pool of people serving on the grand jury, who began hearing evidence in recent weeks and will ultimately determine whether Loehmann should face charges. The development adds to a cloud of questions hanging over the case ever since Rice’s death almost a year ago—including why Loehmann and his partner who drove the squad car, Frank Garmback, have never spoken to investigators.

Delores Jones-Brown, a former prosecutor in New Jersey and a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says it was unusual that McGinty enlisted a Colorado prosecutor and a former FBI agent to analyze the evidence and then release their findings. “I have never seen an incident in which that happened before,” she said, adding, “Normally it would be the defense attorney’s responsibility to get those kinds of experts.”

Tim Young, the director of Ohio’s public defenders office, sees McGinty’s release of the reports as “a measured attempt to try and reduce potential backlash” if the grand jury decides to not indict Loehmann. “The idea that this is somehow making it more fair and transparent, I think, is disingenuous. They’re still going to present this case in a private proceeding that you may or may not get to see the transcript of. We won’t know how they present Tamir.”

As fatal officer-involved shootings have fueled a nationwide debate about policing and racial injustice in America, prosecutors and grand juries have come under scrutiny. Some prosecutors have taken unconventional steps in response to criticism; after a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch released the evidence reviewed by jurors in that case. In August, California became the first state to ban the use of grand juries in officer-involved shootings.

Prosecutors are now in a tough position, says Dave Klinger, a former police officer and a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “No matter what happens, the prosecutor is going to get criticized,” he says. The use of outside investigators by a prosecutor, he adds, is not unheard of in grand jury proceedings. “The goal in a situation like that is to explain to the grand jurors in detail about things that perhaps the prosecutor really doesn’t know him or herself, about police training, practice, or tactics, so that the jurors can have a better understanding of what it is that officers are supposed to do.”

The experts who reviewed Loehmann’s use of deadly force, Colorado prosecutor S. Lamar Sims and former FBI agent Kim Crawford, emphasized that the circumstances leading up to and immediately following the shooting were not relevant to their findings. “To suggest that Officer Garmback should have stopped the car at another location is to engage in exactly the kind of ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ the case law exhorts us to avoid,” Sims wrote. Some policing experts have said that Garmback’s pulling up to within 10 feet of Rice just seconds before Loehmann shot him was among glaring tactical errors made by the two officers. And neither Sims nor Crawford mentioned the fact that for several minutes following the shooting, Loehmann and Garmback stood around without administering first aid to Rice while he lay bleeding on the ground.

“To say that the actions were constitutional does not [necessarily] relieve the officers of negligence or recklessness,” says Jones-Brown. That decision is ultimately up to the prosecutor and the grand jury, she says, adding that a special prosecutor should be appointed. “I’m afraid the damage may have already been done by disseminating these reports.”…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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A Set-Up in Tamir Rice Case

Seems to me there are three basic questions to this justification test which are being ignored…

Did Tamir Rice pose a threat to anyone in his immediate vicinity?

The answer to that one is no. Even if the gun had been real, he stayed under the awning at the playground for quite a period of time, with no one around. He had shot no one.

Did the officers have any reason to believe Tamir was a threat to their safety prior to arriving?

No. The Officers could have chosen to de-escalate, find out the facts (that it wasn’t a real gun), and could have easily stood off safely behind cover, and called for backup to disarm Tamir through a show of force. Taking the scenario that Tamir was an active shooter, any half way moron with a gun could have put 16-18 rounds through their windshield as they drove up (which is why backup would have been a good call). To drive up guns blazing just doesn’t make sense from a procedural standpoint. These guys went into cowboy mode.

I don’t know about Cleveland, but in some jurisdictions the Police carry shotguns. Pulling into the lot 35-40 yards away from the suspect, confronting the suspect with 2 Cops behind the car, one armed with a gun which is accurate far beyond the range at which a untrained kid is going to hit anything with a pistol seems to me a very good way to have gotten a surrender.

Statistically in armed confrontations, even police at distances of 6-8 feet away only hit their target about 1 out of 8 shots fired. Which is why in situations where someone starts firing at a bar fight – you wind up with a lot of folks having nothing to do with the fight wounded or killed.

Why exactly didn’t these cops call for backup?

As such, in my humble opinion this was murder, and this is just, yet another, cover up.

2 Reports Say Officer’s Shooting of Tamar Rice Justified

A white Cleveland police officer was justified in fatally shooting a black 12-year-old boy holding a pellet gun moments after pulling up beside him, according to two outside reviews conducted at the request of the prosecutor investigating the death.

A retired FBI agent and a Denver prosecutor both found the rookie patrolman who shot Tamir Rice exercised a reasonable use of force because he had reason to perceive the boy — described in a 911 call as man waving and pointing a gun — as a serious threat.

The reports were released Saturday night by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, which asked for the outside reviews as it presents evidence to a grand jury that will determine whether Timothy Loehmann will be charged in Tamir’s death last November.

“We are not reaching any conclusions from these reports,” Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said in a statement. “The gathering of evidence continues, and the grand jury will evaluate it all.”

He said the reports, which included a technical reconstruction by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, were released in the interest of being “as public and transparent as possible.”

Subodh Chandra, a lawyer for the Rice family, said the release of the reports shows the prosecutor is avoiding accountability, which is what the family seeks.

“It is now obvious that the prosecutor’s office has been on a 12-month quest to avoid providing that accountability,” he said. He added that the prosecutor’s office didn’t provide his office or the Rice family with the details from the reports. He also questioned the timing of the release, at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

“To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash — when the world has the video of what happened — is all the more alarming,” Chandra said. “Who will speak for Tamir before the grand jury? Not the prosecutor, apparently.”

Both experts were provided with surveillance video of the shooting that showed Loehmann firing at Tamir within two seconds after the police cruiser driven by his partner pulled up next to the boy. Police say the officers were responding to a call about a man with a gun, but were not told the caller said the gun could be a fake and the man an adolescent.

The report prepared by retired FBI agent Kimberly A. Crawford concluded that Loehmann’s use of force did not violate Tamir’s constitutional rights, saying the only facts relevant to such a determination are those the patrolman had at the time he fired his weapon.

Loehmann, she wrote, “had no information to suggest the weapon was anything but a real handgun, and the speed with which the confrontation progressed would not give the officer time to focus on the weapon.”

“It is my conclusion that Officer Loehmann’s use of deadly force falls within the realm of reasonableness under the dictates of the Fourth Amendment,” Crawford wrote, though she noted she was not issuing an opinion as to whether Loehmann violated Ohio law or department policy.

Lamar Sims, the chief deputy district attorney in Denver, also concluded that Loehmann’s actions were reasonable based on statements from witnesses and a reconstruction of what happened that day.

Sims said the officers had no idea if the pellet gun was a real gun when they arrived, and that Loehmann was in a position of great peril because he was within feet of Tamir as the boy approached the cruiser and reached toward his waistband.

“The officers did not create the violent situation,” Sims wrote in his review. “They were responding to a situation fraught with the potential for violence to citizens.”

Another officer who recovered the pellet gun after Tamir was shot told investigators he first thought the gun was a semiautomatic pistol and was surprised when he realized it wasn’t real, Sims noted.

Chandra, the Rice family lawyer, says the experts “dodge the simple fact that the officers rushed Tamir and shot him immediately without assessing the situation in the least. Reasonable jurors could find that conduct unreasonable. But they will never get the chance because the prosecutor is working diligently to ensure that there is no indictment and no accountability.”

The pellet gun Tamir was holding shoots non-lethal plastic projectiles but its orange markings had been removed.

 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, Domestic terrorism

 

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