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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Cleveland NAACP votes to request release of Tamir Rice grand jury testimony

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The Cleveland branch of the NAACP voted Tuesday to ask the county prosecutor for the release of the Tamir Rice grand jury transcripts.

Vice president James Hardiman said the request will be filed Wednesday, and the NAACP is prepared to continue to press its case through the courts if necessary.

“What happened before the grand jury in the Tamir Rice investigation is unprecedented,” Hardiman, a civil rights attorney, said. “The Tamir Rice situation is not a case — it’s a cause.”

A grand jury late last month decided not to indict two Cleveland police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir.

Also during the NAACP’s first general meeting of 2016, the Cleveland group swore in officers, including president Mike Nelson and Hardiman.

“We’re not trying to open a casino. We’re not trying to buy a baseball team. We’re not trying to do anything other than protect the constitutional rights of those who are disadvantaged and protect them from being violated,” Nelson said in his opening remarks.

Nelson said he is motivated by the Cleveland police killings of Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams and Tamir Rice. He said their deaths should be enough to motivate others to become a part of the “civil rights battle” in Cleveland.

Following Nelson’s opening statements, Hardiman made the motion to file the branch’s request to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty’s office for the grand jury transcripts in the Tamir Rice case.

The motion was unanimously approved by the voting members of the NAACP present at the meeting. 

The Rev. Jawanza Colvin, pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, closed the meeting by commending branch members for their community action and civic engagement while remembering those who came before.

“What would the world look like if there was never an NAACP?” Colvin asked. “If ever we needed the NAACP, we sure do need it now.”

This article originally appeared on cleveland.com 

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