The grand jury tasked with deciding whether or not to indict Cleveland police officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann in connection with 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s death never actually voted on the matter, Cleveland Scene magazine reported on Wednesday.
This story has been updated
“If it is true that the prosecutor didn’t even call for an up or down vote on potential criminal charges, including aggravated murder, then it is truly the ultimate insult to the Rice family,” said an attorney for the child’s family, Subodh Chandra. “The prosecutor didn’t even think it mattered to bring the grand jury proceedings to their proper conclusion.”
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced on Dec. 28 that the jurors had “declined to indict” the two officers. But according to Cleveland Scene, officials with the county clerk’s office said that there is no document on file showing how the decision was reached.
Standard grand jury procedure calls for two possible outcomes: jurors can vote for a “true bill,” meaning charges are to be filed; or they can vote for a “no bill” — a decision not to do so. Whenever jurors vote for a “no bill,” a separate document called a “no-bill documentation” is retained for a county’s records.
But no such document is present in the clerk’s office for Cuyahoga County, or in the office of Common Pleas Judge Nancy McDonnell, who oversaw the grand jury proceedings.
Cleveland Scene also reported that according to one clerk, if the “mysterious document” existed, it would take an order from Administrative and Presiding Judge John J. Russo for it to be made available to reporters.
However, Russo said in a phone interview that “When you say ‘document,’ I’m not sure what you mean. I don’t know what that is. It’s either a true bill or a no bill.”