October 29, 2020


Government Accountability Project Represents Anonymous Whistleblower Featured in New York Times Article on DOJ Failure to Investigate Cleveland Police Shooting Death of Tamir Rice

WASHINGTON— The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division was not allowed to investigate the notorious 2014 killing by a Cleveland Police officer of Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy shot and killed while playing with a toy gun in a city park.

At the end of 2015, the DOJ announced that its Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been monitoring the investigation conducted by local authorities, would continue to conduct an independent review of the evidence, assess all available materials, and determine what actions are appropriate. At least as late as July 2019, media reported that the investigation had not been closed.

Over no less than two years, the Times reports that career prosecutors and supervisors repeatedly sought permission from political leadership to use a grand jury to subpoena documents and witnesses for testimony.  In July 2019, DOJ publicly announced it would not seek an indictment of the New York City police officer who had caused the death of Eric Garner — ignoring his cries of “I can’t breathe.”  Shortly afterwards, word reached the career ranks that their request to use a grand jury to investigate the Rice case had been denied.  The Rice family was never told the case was effectively closed.

The article reports that one source for the story was a whistle-blower complaint filed with the DOJ Office of Inspector General accusing the department of mishandling the matter.  Government Accountability Project filed the complaint. David Z. Seide, senior counsel at Government Accountability Project stated:

“Tamir Rice’s death is a terrible tragedy that should have never happened.  It was grossly compounded by the deliberate inactions of DOJ political leadership. The refusals to permit the convening of a grand jury — a standard step in any federal criminal investigation — doomed any chance for justice from the federal government. The case just withered and died. All that happened without even giving the grieving Rice family the courtesy of letting them know about the closing of the case without investigation. It is shocking.”

Government Accountability Project currently represents multiple whistleblowers who have and continue to disclose violations of law, gross mismanagement, and abuses of authority by DOJ political leadership.


Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 457-0034 x156


Government Accountability Project

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.