January 1, 2015 / 10:35 PM / 6 years ago

Sheriff could probe police death of Cleveland boy: report

(Reuters) - The investigation into the shooting death of a black 12-year-old boy by a white Cleveland police officer could be taken over by an outside agency, a media report said.

Cleveland city officials have been in talks to hand their investigation into the Nov. 22 shooting of Tamir Rice over to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported on Wednesday.

Activists and attorneys for Rice’s family have called for an independent investigation of the shooting.

Rice, a sixth-grader, was shot by a police officer responding to a call of a suspect brandishing a handgun in a park. The weapon turned out to be a replica that typically shoots plastic pellets.

A coroner’s report ruled the death a homicide. Spokesmen for the sheriff and Cleveland’s city hall did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Rice shooting came at a time of heightened scrutiny over use of force by U.S. police. Cleveland’s police force has been under a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, which found last month that the department systematically engages in excessive use of force.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bernard Orr

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