Tamir Rice’s investigation moves to the Sheriff’s Department
Following the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the subsequent investigation, previously being conducted by the Cleveland police department, will be taken over by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.
Rice was shot by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann on Nov. 22, 2014 while at the Cudell Recreation Center with an Airsoft gun. He died the next day.
Rice’s death, which came at a time of national turmoil over police brutality due to the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, led to protests across the city.
“The decision to turn the investigation over was made to ensure that transparency and an extra layer of separation and impartiality were established,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson in a statement.
Some still aren’t happy with moving the investigation to the Sheriff’s Department, with Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed asking Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to take over the investigation to increase trust and remove possible bias.
Tanisha Anderson’s death ruled a homicide
On Jan. 2, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled the death of 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson a homicide, saying that she died from being “physically restrained in a prone position.”
On Nov. 13, Anderson’s family called the police twice to report that she was disturbing the peace. When the police came, Anderson, who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, reportedly struggled while being escorted to the police car. However, according to her brother, Anderson voluntarily entered the car before getting nervous and leaving.
Upon leaving the vehicle, a police officer performed a take-down move to handcuff her, which caused her sudden death. The police department’s Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is currently looking into the incident.
Anderson’s family recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Cleveland, calling for a jury trial for the two officers involved, as well as damages.
Anderson’s death, like Rice’s, has been cited by protesters as an example of police brutality and a call to reform the system.
Mandatory rape kit testing leads to new convictions
Senate Bill 316, which requires law enforcement agencies to test all untested raped kits, passed unanimously through the Ohio House on Dec. 17. The law, which will take effect in March, will require all departments to send previous and current rape kits in for DNA testing.
This law follows a recent initiative to test a backlog of rape kits from 1993 to 2010, in order to prosecute cases before their 20-year statute of limitations expires. The project has sent more than 4,300 kits in for testing.
On Jan. 7, Moses Clark, a 64-year-old man who was set to be released from prison on that day, had his sentence extended when DNA evidence linked him to three new rape cases, which occurred in 2006.