A grand jury in Ohio, United States, refused to indict police officer Timothy Loehmann who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland last year when the boy was playing with a toy gun at a park. The African-American boy's family said they were 'not suprised' by the outcome on Monday.
Calling the incident a "perfect storm of human error", Cuyahoga county prosecutor Timothy McGinty said on Monday that the law allowed police officers to make "split second" decisions and that it was unreasonable for the officers involved to wait and check if Rice's gun was real.
What happened on 22 November 2014:
Tamir Rice was playing with what was later found to be an airsoft gun near a park in Cleveland, prompting a passerby to call 911 and report about a boy with a 'probably fake' gun.
In the video of the incident released by the Cleveland police department, Rice was seen sitting at a gazebo until a police car pulled up right in front of him, and two police officers got out pointing their gun at Rice, and the boy was shot in two seconds.
Rice died at a hospital later, sparking anger in the country which had already seen protests over fatal shootings of African Americans by the police.
"Tragedy" but not a crime
McGinty called the shooting a "tragedy" but said it was not a crime as "the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police".
"It was a perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communications by all involved that day," he said.
"It would be irresponsible and unreasonable if the law required a police officer to wait and see if the gun was real," McGinty said, according to AFP.
The two police officers were "frightened" and did not realise that Rice was just a boy with a toy, the prosecutor reportedly said, adding that Tamir was tall for his age.
"Disappointed, not surprised"
Tamir Rice's family said they were "saddened and disappointed by this outcome—but not surprised", and accused the prosecutor of manipulating the grand jury.
"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," the statement by the family said.
"The prosecutor did not seek a court order compelling the officers to answer questions or holding the officers in contempt if they continued to refuse," the Rice family's attorneys said, according to ABC News.
Several protesters came out on the streets in Cleveland following the grand jury's decision on Monday. Some people also marched up to the Cleveland First District police headquarters, according to local reports.
There were also "NYC Rises Up 4 Tamir" protests in lower Manhattan and on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City following the outcome.