CLEVELAND, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A retired FBI agent and a prosecutor released independent reports ruling the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police as justified ahead of a grand jury decision.
The reports were prepared for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. A grand jury will decide if a police officer and his partner will face criminal charges over Tamir's death.
Tamir was shot to death while playing with a pellet gun in a Cleveland park last November. Responding to a 911 call about a "a guy with a pistol" that was "probably fake," police officer Timothy Loehmann fired several shots at Rice two seconds after arriving on scene.
In June, a Cleveland judge found probable cause for murder charges, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide and dereliction of duty after conducting a non-binding legal review of the case against Loehmann and partner Frank Garmback.
In a recent review, retired FBI agent Kimberly Crawford wrote "not only was Officer Loehmann required to make a split-second decision, but also that his response was a reasonable one."
Loehmann "had no information to suggest the weapon was anything but a real handgun, and the speed with which the confrontation progressed would not give the officer time to focus on the weapon," she added.
Colorado prosecutor Lamar Sims, senior chief deputy district attorney in Denver, said that Loehmann's decision was "objectively reasonable."
"There can be no doubt that Rice's death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking," Sims wrote in his report. "However... I conclude that Officer Loehmann's belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat."
Subodh Chandra, the attorney for Tamir's family, accused the experts of being "pro-police" and of attempting to "whitewash" Tamir's death. The Rice family has continuously said police acted too quickly without properly assessing the situation after arriving to the scene.
Chandra said McGinty and his office are not holding the officers accountable, adding that McGinty "is working diligently to ensure that there is no indictment."
"Any presentation to a grand jury -- without the prosecutor advocating for Tamir -- is a charade," Chandra said. "To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash -- when the world has the video of what happened -- is all the more alarming."
"Reasonable jurors could find that conduct unreasonable," Chandra added.