Prosecutor now in charge of Tamir Rice case after sheriff hands off investigation

FILE PHOTO: A mourner reads the obituary from the program during the funeral service for Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio December 3, 2014 (Reuters / Aaron Josefczyk)
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office turned over its investigation into the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice to prosecutors. The handover occurred six months after the Ohio preteen was shot to death by Cleveland police at a local recreation center.

"The Sheriff's Office... has performed an extensive, thorough and unbiased investigation. It is now up to the Prosecutor to determine how next to proceed," the office said in a statement.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office is expected to convene a grand jury to decide whether the police officers involved in Rice’s death should be charged with any crimes. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty will review the sheriff office’s report and could present the evidence from it to a county grand jury.

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However, an unnamed source told WEWS that the "investigation and evidence shows the lack of evidence to support that a crime was committed in the shooting of Tamir Rice."

Walter Madison, an attorney for the Rice family, told ABC News that the boy’s relatives are not happy about the decision to present the case to a grand jury.

"This moves from a public process that's transparent to a more secretive one," Madison said.

Rice died in late November when Cleveland Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback responded to a 911 call about a juvenile with a gun that was “probably fake” at the Cudell Recreation Center playground. Within two seconds of exiting the police cruiser, Loehmann fired two shots at Rice, striking him once in the abdomen and killing the 12-year-old.

It was later revealed that Rice was carrying a pellet gun when he died, which police said he did not point at the responding officers.

The Cleveland Police Department turned the investigation over to the Cuyahoga Sheriff’s Office in February. In mid-May, Sheriff Clifford Pinkney asked for more time to complete the department’s inquiry.

“As I stated in my briefing on May 12, 2015,” Pinkney said Wednesday, “my department has been diligently working on the investigation. We have concluded our work and I have turned it over to the Prosecutor who will take it through the next steps.”