June 12th, 2015


With the death of 18 year old Michael Brown Jr from the hands of the police, the subsequent Ferguson riots and the decision to not indict the police officer not even a year ago, the realisation and documentation of police brutality as well as the use of excessive and deadly force is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
And the most troubling aspects behind cases such as Brown Jr’s, is the lack of convictions brought against Police officers involved in dubious deaths. We are however in the dawn of a potentially significant moment however with Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the police officers responsible for the death of 12 year old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Leohmann in November of last year in Cleveland Ohio, have had their acts condemned by a Cleveland based Judge.

Allegedly, following a police call that a male was in a park pointing a pistol at people (the caller apparently noted that the gun was fake and that the male was a child) the 12 year old African American boy was shot almost immediately after the arrival of Police, with video footage of the incident showing that Loehmann was on the scene for two seconds before firing and fatally wounding Tamir Rice.

Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland Municipal courthas stated on Thursday that there is more than enough probable cause to charge rookie officer Loehmann with murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide or dereliction of duty, as well as evidence to charge Frank Garmback with reckless homicide or dereliction of duty.

Adrine had viewed the CCTV footage of the moment of Rice’s encounter and death from police after receiving affidavits from civil rights leaders and activists asking for Adrine to provide his view. And although this is not an indictment of the police officers themselves, the fact that there is a finally judicial interpretation of sheer negligence and excessive force by United States’ police officers, is significant.

It may just lead to a potential conviction for the untimely and preventable murder of a 12 year old and in turn, as well as lead the way for future convictions, recognition and prevention of unarmed people dying a lot from police. It is also a huge step forward in the Rice’s family pursuit of justice, and the communities affected by this tragedy.

**Guys please note the below footage contains disturbing imagery**

In a statement issued through their attorneys, Rice’s family said the eight community leaders who filed affidavits to the judge accusing the officers of murder have “provided a blueprint for the nation to follow in addressing many of the relationship problems between African Americans and law enforcement”

From the date of Michael Brown’s death, August 9th 2014 until now according toKilled By Police, there have been 942 deaths attributed to the acts of police in the US regardless of race, reasons, methods and whether the police officer was on duty or not. The sheer fact of these numbers ultimately displays the methodology of the police force in the US. To get an idea of the racial significance of this however, the population of African Americans is roughly 13% of the total population, with 31% of total victims being killed by police African American, with a further 41% of those not actually attacking police when they were killed.

The conviction rate however of police seems to be on the lower side, and when you take that into consideration, you can’t help but feel that accusation from those in the African American community that they’re being targeted by the police, and nothing is being done about it, seems to hold considerable weight.

New research by a Bowling Green State University criminologist shows that 41 officers in the U.S. were charged with either murder or manslaughter in connection with on-duty shootings over a seven-year period ending in 2011. Over that same period, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported 2,718 justified homicides by law enforcement, an incomplete count, according to experts.

High profile examples of this is the lack of charges being filed or even a grand jury decision to not indict the police officers who were responsible for the deaths of John Crawford III, 13 year old Andy Lopez (who was in a very similar situation and did in fact die from gunshots to police) Michael Brown Jr and Eric Garner, all of whom were unarmed, and whose deaths deserved far greater scrutiny than they recieved.

What will happen is hard to say because realistically, the footage and facts following Michael Brown Jnr, John Crawford III and Eric Garner should have lead to convictions of the police officers involved. However, the fact that a judge has stepped forward and pointed out what’s happened being just cause for a conviction could act as a catalyst for further convictions to come and then who knows what could happen.

And before you say “this is only happening in the U.S” try and remember what happened to Thomas Hickey in 2004, or Julieka Dhu in 2004.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s