The body of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy killed by a Cleveland police officer in November, has been cremated, his family's attorney told BuzzFeed News Wednesday.
The cremation came after the family earlier this month filed for the right to pursue civil action against the Cleveland Police Department, even as the investigation into Tamir's death remains ongoing.
Samaria Rice, Tamir's mother, said at the time she had already waited too long for justice. The family had been waiting to lay Tamir to rest because they had been told another medical examination might be necessary, the filing stated.
"Samaria Rice is a mother first," attorney Walter Madison told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday. "Her objective is to care for her child, in life and in death."
Cremation was a "maternal decision," not a legal one, he added.
"She no longer could bear not having her son resting, and she made the grief-stricken decision to have him taken care of," Madison said.
A spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said the boy's body was released on Nov. 25, 2014 to Gaines Funeral Home in Cleveland. The medical examiner was not involved in any storage or associated costs after the body was released.
The filing for civil action also revealed that Samaria Rice had been homeless for several months — a situation that Madison said was embarrassing and difficult for her when it became national news.
Many people, however, have responded with sympathy and support, Madison said. His office has been inundated with donations of furniture, household goods, and nonperishable food.
"She really needed it," he said. "The response from the world has just been overwhelming."
On Monday, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Cliff Pinkney told reporters the investigation into whether Officer Timothy Loehmann should face criminal charges related to Tamir's death is nearly complete.
Loehmann shot Tamir after a 9-1-1 caller reported the boy was at a park with a gun that was "probably fake." Surveillance video captured the shooting, which happened seconds after Loehmann arrived. The gun Tamir was holding was found to be a toy.
Pinkney said several interviews and review of some forensic evidence is all that remains.
His primary focus has been making sure the investigation is fair, he told reporters.
"While it would be politically expedient to impose and arbitrary deadline, for the sake of the integrity of the investigation, I'm not willing to do that," he said.
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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