Judge Ronald B. Adrine also found the evidence sufficient to charge Officer Timothy Loehmann with involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty.
The judge also found probable cause for negligent homicide and dereliction of duty charges against Frank Garmback, the officer who drove the car on Nov. 22 when Rice was shot.
“We are grateful that the wheels of justice are starting to turn,” the Rice family said in a statement.
The family, along with various Cleveland activists and community leaders, have asked Adrine to issue a warrant to arrest the officers; however, the judge unable to do so without a complaint from the prosecutor’s office.
Adrine’s opinion was delivered on Thursday to both the city and county prosecutor’s offices for review. Their investigations may continue before the evidence is eventually delivered to a grand jury.
On the night of Rice’s shooting, Loehmann and Garmback responded to a 911 call about someone, “probably a juvenile,” pointing a pistol at random people near the Cudell Recreation Center. Twice the caller told the dispatch officer that the weapon was likely a fake.
When the officers arrived, Loehmann allegedly ordered Rice to show his handes several times. A surveillance video appears to show Rice reaching toward his waistband. Loehmann is seen exiting the car and almost immediately firing his weapon.
Neither Loehmann nor Garmback administered aid to Rice after the shooting. He died on the following day. His weapon turned out to be an authentic-looking airsoft toy; the orange safety tip that would signified it was fake had been removed.
“There appears to be little if any time reflected on the video for Rice to react or respond to any verbal or audible commands given from Loehmann and Garmback from the zone car between the time that they first arrived and the time Rice was shot,” wrote Judge Adrine.