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Democrats demand Biden administration reopen probe into Tamir Rice's death

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers on Friday demanded the Biden administration to reopen a federal investigation into the death of Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by police in 2014 when he was 12 years old.

Democrats sent two separate letters to the administration on Friday asking to reopen the probe, and criticizing the Trump administration’s handling of the probe.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden emphasizes investment in police, communities to combat crime Watch live: Biden, Garland deliver remarks on gun crime prevention Energized Trump probes pose problems for Biden MORE, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBiden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction Cutting critical family support won't solve the labor crisis Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit MORE (D-Ohio), along with Ohio Reps. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack J.D. Vance emerges as wild card in Ohio GOP Senate primary 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (D) Marcy KapturMarcia (Marcy) Carolyn KapturPelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez Democrats demand Biden administration reopen probe into Tamir Rice's death MORE (D), and Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattyBlack lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory Usher attends Juneteenth bill signing at White House Advocates warn against complacency after Chauvin verdict MORE (D), wrote that Rice “should still be alive today.”

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“Justice delayed is justice denied, and accountability for Tamir Rice’s death has been delayed for more than six years,” the lawmakers wrote. “Therefore, we strongly support the request of Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, that [Department of Justice] DOJ reopen its investigation into her son’s case.”

Rice was shot by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann after officers responded to a report of a man playing with a gun. The caller noted that the person was likely a juvenile, and that the gun was probably fake.

The DOJ began its investigation after a grand jury in Ohio declined to bring charges against the officers. The New York Times reported in October that the investigation was quietly ended in 2019 after requests to have a grand jury preside over the case were denied.

It wasn’t until two months later that Justice publicly announced that it ended the probe, finding issues with the quality of the footage examined.

In a separate letter, 40 lawmakers led by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) said the prior administration made a “blatant attempt to outwait the statute of limitations for obstruction of justice charges known that the investigation’s closure was made public.”

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They also said they were standing up for Rice’s family, noting that their congressional district currently does not have an active member in Congress.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeOn The Money: Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall | Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling HUD secretary links student loan debt to decline in Black homeownership MORE represented the district where Rice’s family lives.

“As constituents of Ohio’s 11th congressional district, the Rice family does not have an active Member of Congress to represent them in this moment,” the lawmakers wrote. “But we the undersigned have the responsibility of representing constituents just like the Rice family – Black people in the United States who live under the revolving, intolerable threat of unchecked police brutality.”

Rice’s family pleaded with the DOJ to reopen the probe earlier this month, arguing that the Trump administration had purposely thwarted the investigation for political reasons.

“The truth is that the actual facts, when stripped of pro-police bias, are indisputably straight-forward,” the family wrote at the time.

“This case deserves to be presented to a grand jury without the agenda of exonerating the officers,” they wrote.

The Hill has reached out to the DOJ and White House for comment.