To lay federal civil rights charges in cases like these, the Justice Department must prove that an officer’s actions willfully violated the law rather than being the result of an error, d ‘negligence or poor judgment. It has always been a difficult burden for federal prosecutors to assemble in Democratic and Republican administrations, with the Justice Department declining criminal charges against police officers in other high-profile cases in recent years, including death by Eric Garner in New York. and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
In a statement, Subodh Chandra, an attorney for the boy’s family, said “the Justice Department process was flawed” and the family asked prosecutors to provide additional information on the recommendations made during the process. ‘investigation.
“It is incomprehensible that the ministry cannot recognize that an officer who claims to have shouted orders when the patrol car window was closed and it was a winter day was lying,” Chandra said. “The Rice family has been deceived again by a fair process.”
In that case, the Justice Department said poor quality surveillance footage recorded in the area where the shooting took place prevented prosecutors from conclusively determining whether or not Rice grabbed her toy pistol just before. to be shot. The two officers who were investigated told authorities shortly after the shooting that Rice was looking for his toy gun before being shot and was given several orders to show his hands.
But the video examined by federal prosecutors makes the sequence of events less clear. The grainy time-lapse video, which has no audio, “shows no detail or perspective” and the camera view is obstructed by a police patrol car, prosecutors said. Further, they said, although the positioning of the boy’s arms suggests they were close to his waist, “his hands are not visible in the video and he cannot be determined from the video. what he was doing ”.
The New York Times reported in October that the department had effectively terminated the investigation, but Tuesday’s announcement made it official.