Did Previous Prosecutor Sabotage Tamir Rice Grand Jury? New Prosecutor Backs NAACP Request for Grand Jury Transcripts

Serving White Supremacy System. Prosecutor Acting Like a Defense Attorney for White Cops who Murder. What is white collective power? [Racist Suspect Timothy McGinty in video. Look at the Black probot in video to his left - a stage prop].

From [HERE] Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley supports plans to ask a judge to release portions of transcripts from the grand jury proceedings that led to no criminal charges against the officers involved in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. 

O'Malley told cleveland.com during an editorial board interview Thursday that he would back a petition by the Cleveland branch of the NAACP for the release of statements his predecessor, Timothy J. McGinty, made in December 2015 just before recommending that a grand jury not charge Timothy Loehmann or Frank Garmback. McGinty is white. 

Advocates and lawyers representing the Rice family beleived that McGinty had a "pro-police bias" and did not want to prosecute the white cops. 

On December 28, McGinty reported that the grand jury had decided not to indict Loehmann or Garmback, saying, "Given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes, and communications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police." The announcement prompted Rice's mother to release a statement accusing McGinty of mishandling the investigation, stating in part, "Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers' defense attorney." [MORE]

Three expert witnesses who testified before the grand jury criticized the prosecutors behavior during the grand jury. Roger Clark, a retired LASD officer with expertise in police shootings, said that prosecutors at the hearing treated him with hostility and "disdain" for concluding that Loehmann and Garmback had acted recklessly; he also described the prosecutors' as using theatrics, like none he'd ever seen in previous grand jury proceedings, which he believed were intended to lead the grand jurors to the conclusion that the prosecutors wanted them to reach. Jeffrey Noble, another retired police officer and expert in use-of-force cases (who had himself used deadly force on the job), said he was attacked by prosecutors for saying that the officers never should have escalated the situation by rushing Rice, adding, "I’ve definitely never seen two prosecutors play defense attorney so well." And Jesse Wobrock, a biomechanics expert hired by the Rice family's lawyers, also described the prosecutors as "acting in a way like they were defense attorneys for the cops," and as having attacked him professionally for his testimony regarding the timing and significance of body movements by Loehmann and Rice, as seen on video footage of the shooting. (A spokesman for McGinty's office said the three experts were only presenting "one side" of the story, but he could not elaborate because prosecutors are bound by grand jury secrecy laws.) [MORE]

The petition, according to the NAACP, would also seek the grand jury's decision, but would not ask for the testimony of any witnesses.

"We have not taken it to a judge yet, but it's in the firing," O'Malley said.

The move could offer a rare glimpse into the secretive proceedings of grand juries in what is one of Cuyahoga County's most high-profile and controversial cases. It would also mark a reversal of McGinty's stance on the transcripts.

The NAACP's motion would go before Judge Nancy R. McDonnell, the judge assigned to oversee the grand jury that handled the case. O'Malley said that he would likely file a brief in support of the NAACP's request in the coming weeks. Cleveland NAACP co-president Michael Nelson said in a phone interview that the organization could file its petition as early as Friday. 

Nelson said he is not looking for what either of the officers or any of six independent experts that were hired by prosecutors and attorneys for the boy's family told the grand jury.

Instead, Nelson wants to know exactly what McGinty or his lawyers told the grand jury at the end of the presentation of the evidence, and what the grand jury decided. The organization voted in January 2016 to petition for the transcripts, but Nelson said it was never filed. 

The release of the transcripts would put to bed lingering suspicious on whether McGinty actually asked the grand jury to take a vote, Nelson said.

McGinty's office said in a January 2016 statement in response to a Cleveland Scene article that the grand jury voted that the shooting was objectionably reasonable, and was therefore never asked to vote on specific criminal charges. 

Tamir had an airsoft pellet gun with its orange tip removed when Loehmann shot him Nov. 22, 2014 outside Cudell Recreation Center. Loehmann opened fire less than two seconds after Garmback drove their police cruiser within feet of a gazebo where Tamir had been standing.

A Cuyahoga County Probate Court judge in November approved a $6 million settlement between the city and the boy's family. The settlement is likely the largest the city has ever paid for a police-shooting case.

O'Malley stressed that his office does not plan to revisit the case unless new evidence comes to light. He is still working on an agreement with the Ohio Attorney General's Office to relinquish control of prosecuting fatal police-involved shootings in Cuyahoga County. If new evidence in Tamir's shooting turned up, he would ask for a special prosecutor to take over, O'Malley said.

O'Malley's support does not guarantee the documents will be released. Then-Prosecutor Bill Mason petitioned for the release of grand jury transcripts in the early 2000s after a grand jury investigation into sexual abuse allegations within the Cleveland Catholic Diocese turned up charges against a handful of priests out of more than 150 that were investigated. A judge found Mason could not prove that "special circumstances" existed that would warrant the release of the transcripts and no material was released.

McGinty's release before the grand jury's vote of three expert reports that concluded the shooting was objectively reasonable, written statements from the police officers and allowing the officers to testify before the grand jury and not cross-examine them stoked public debate over McGinty's handling of the process.  

Limiting the request only to the the prosecutors' final statements to the grand jury would be "inadequate," Subodh Chandra, an attorney for who represented the Rice family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, said.

"It won't thoroughly demonstrate the one-sided nature of the proceedings conducted by the prosecutors in this case," Chandra said. 

O'Malley defeated McGinty in the March Democratic primary. He campaigned against McGinty's handling of the case and pledged to support the NAACP's petition. He carried large majorities of Cleveland's black voting precincts.

The city in a hastily organized news conference on Friday announced that Loehmann and Garmback would face internal discipline for violating department policy after an internal investigation that dragged on for more than a year.