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US judge recommends criminal charges for officers who killed Tamir Rice

A judge has ruled that two Cleveland police officers involved in the killing of an African-American boy should face charges. It's one of several recent killings by US police that have raised concern.

A judge in the Ohio city of Cleveland ruled on Thursday that police officer Timothy Loehmann should face charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide and dereliction of duty over the death last November of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Loehmann's partner officer, Frank Garmback, who was driving the patrol car, should face negligent homicide and dereliction of duty charges, Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine found.

The judge also noted in his ruling that his verdict was non-binding.

"This court is mindful that despite any conclusions it draws from the evidence ... its role here is advisory in nature," Ardine wrote, adding that it was up to the "discretion of the city's prosecuting authority" to decide whether to press charges in the case.

The death of Rice is just one in a series of killings of African-Americans involving contact with law enforcement authorities in the United States in recent months.

Both Cleveland police officers involved in the shooting of Rice are white.

The ruling came days after a group of local citizens filed affidavits requesting action from the court in connection with the death of Rice, who was holding a replica gun when he was shot.

A statement released by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty following the ruling said the case would go to a grand jury, as is the policy for all police lethal force incidents.

"Ultimately, the Grand Jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged," the statement said.

Rice was shot seconds after the two police officers arrived at a recreation center following an emergency call that "a guy with a pistol" was pointing it at people.

pfd/bk (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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