Street protests, McGinty and Lebron: Cleveland reacts to Tamir Rice decision

© Angelo Merendino
Amid a heavy police presence, protesters in Cleveland, Ohio picketed courts and blocked streets, angry at the decision not to indict the police officers who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice over a toy gun.

Chanting “No justice, no peace,” some 50-75 demonstrators marched in downtown Cleveland, after rallying in front of the Justice Center at 3 p.m. local time. They also demanded the resignation of Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty, accused by Rice’s family of manipulating the investigation away from the indictment.

Protesters also held hands and spread across a street near the Progressive Field baseball park.

Calling the November 2014 shooting of Rice a “perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications” McGinty said Monday that that the evidence in the case did not point to criminal misconduct by the Cleveland police officers involved. 

READ MORE: 'Tragedy, not crime' - Grand jury declines to indict officer in fatal shooting of 12yo Tamir Rice

The official report, posted in full on the website of the prosecutor’s office, explained that the officers responding to a call about someone scaring people outside a recreational center with a firearm were never told that the subject might be a juvenile, or that the gun might not be real. Rice also looked older than 12 and his toy gun could not be easily distinguished from a real Colt M1911, officials said.

The decision has prompted outrage on social media and a massive protest in New York City on Monday night, as well as a smaller protest in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, activists have called on Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star Lebron James to stop playing as a form of protest. Using the hashtag #NoJusticeNoLebron, the campaign points to the University of Missouri football team, whose boycott helped force the resignation of the campus chancellor in November.

So far, James has not publicly commented on the campaign. He has taken part in solidarity actions before, however, posing in a hoodie with Miami Heat in 2012 in honor of Trayvon Martin and wearing an “I can’t breathe” T-shirt in 2014 in honor of Eric Garner, according to NBC.

Critics sympathetic to the campaign have nevertheless criticized it for placing the responsibility solely on James.

“Rice’s death is not a Cleveland issue – just like Eric Garner’s death is not a New York issue or Michael Brown’s death is not a St. Louis issue. These are American issues,” Lincoln A. Blades wrote in The Grio“We don’t just need LeBron James to speak out, we also need Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Skylar Diggins, Brittney Griner, Todd Gurley, Ryan Howard and Serena and Venus Williams to join in.”