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The city of Cleveland transferred the investigation into the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy by a police officer to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, city officials announced Friday. Tamir Rice, who was carrying a pellet gun, was shot just moments after police responded to a call outside a Cleveland recreation center on Nov. 22. The incident was caught on surveillance video.

"This decision to turn the investigation over was made to ensure that transparency and an extra layer of separation and impartiality were established," Mayor Frank G. Jackson said in a statement. "I believe that the best way to ensure accountability in a use of force investigation is to have it completed by an outside agency."

Officers told investigators they believed the boy was carrying a firearm, but it was later discovered to be a toy pellet gun. A man who called 911 told dispatchers that the boy had a gun but cautioned it could be fake, information that was not passed on to the officers who arrived on the scene. Tamir was shot and killed after police said they yelled at him to put his hands up.

Attorneys for the Rice family said in response that they hope the investigation will shed light on why Tamir was shot “less than two seconds after the officers converged.”

"We are cautiously optimistic about the announcement made earlier today regarding the City of Cleveland's promise of transparency and impartiality in the transfer of the investigation into the shooting death of Tamir Rice,” attorneys Benjamin L. Crump, Walter T. Madison and Daryl D. Parks said in a statement.


— Daniella Silva