Produced by Trey Yingst
Video Edited by Ford Fischer
Article by Alejandro Alvarez
Around 100 protesters marched through downtown Cleveland demanding justice for 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a day after a grand jury opted not to bring charges on officers involved in his death last year.
Activists gathered at the Justice Center Complex early Tuesday afternoon, and marched through rush hour shutting intersections near Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field.
The protest remained peaceful throughout, despite a brief flare in tensions as demonstrators met a police blockade near Cleveland’s Shoreway early in the march. Protesters later surrounded police vehicles in front of the Quicken Loans Arena, prompting police to bring in reinforcements wearing riot gear. There were no arrests, a police spokesman said.
Chants ranged from “the whole damn system is guilty as hell,” and “we are Tamir,” to intermittent shouts of “racist” and “pig” directed toward police. Marchers, at one point, blocked a police vehicle as a man held a photo of Rice to the windshield, chanting “unacceptable.”
The Tamir Rice decision marks the latest in a series of high-profile cases ending with no charges over officer-involved shootings. Similar cases in Baltimore, New York City, and Ferguson have led to accusations of the legal system being biased in favor of police. Said one demonstrator, “I mean, it just reinforced a certain idea and a certain understanding that the system is not working in the interest of a certain demographic” adding “it just reinforced that we are powerless.”
Local and national activists continue to plan actions in response to the Rice ruling. The NAACP has called for civil disobedience in Cleveland and unveiled a list of demands including a release of sealed jury transcripts and the dismissal of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.
McGinty, speaking to press after the decision, said video shown to the jury served as “indisputable” evidence that Tamir was drawing a pellet gun from his waistband. McGinty said there was was no way police could have differentiated an imitation gun from a real weapon, and that Rice’s death resulted from a “perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications.”
A second protest is planned at the Justice Center on Dec. 30, activists said.