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Government & Politics

Activists Demand Tamir Rice Grand Jury Transcripts After no Indictments

JONATHON WITMER-RICH
CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY

This week’s grand jury decision not to indict the Cleveland police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice has prompted some demands from activists.  A coalition that includes Cleveland’s NAACP branch is calling for the resignation of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty and the release of the grand jury transcripts. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports.

Cleveland State University law professor Jonathon Witmer-Rich says grand jury transcripts are usually kept secret to protect a suspect’s identity in case there is no indictment. But he says in this case, the officers were publicly known before the proceedings. A second reason, Witmer-Rich says, is to compel witnesses to testify who would not if they knew their testimony would be made public. He doubts that is an issue in the Rice case.

“In this case, it may be OK to make everything public. It was done in the Ferguson case. The court released, I think, pretty much all of the grand jury information, so I believe it would be up to the judge in this case.”

The coalition of activists has also called for the city to amend its contract with the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association to prevent the union from using arbitration to force the city to rehire fired officers. A union official says arbitration is a state law that the city cannot amend.