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Probe of police shooting of Tamir Rice now in prosecutors' hands

CLEVELAND - Police say the investigation into the death of a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland policeman while he held a pellet gun has been turned over to county prosecutors.

The Cuyahoga County sheriff's department said Wednesday its investigation into the shooting of Tamir Rice, which has stretched nearly four months, is complete.

"My department has been diligently working on the investigation. We have concluded our work and I have turned it over to the prosecutor who will take it through the next steps," Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney said in a statement.

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Tamir Rice Attorney Timothy J. Kucharski via CBS affiliate WOIO

The county prosecutor has said the case will be presented to a grand jury that will determine if criminal charges are filed.

Tamir was shot in the abdomen by rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann on Nov. 22. The boy was holding an airsoft gun that fires nonlethal plastic pellets.

Loehmann and his partner had responded to a call about someone with a firearm. Surveillance video shows Loehmann firing within two seconds of the police car stopping near the boy.

Tamir's family currently has a civil rights lawsuit pending in connection with the case. Earlier this week, a federal judge delayed part of that lawsuit, citing concern for the officers' rights against self-incrimination. The judge's ruling doesn't delay the lawsuit as it relates to the city of Cleveland.

The city is coming off a week of highly publicized events involving Cleveland police.

Last week, officials announced a settlement between Cleveland the U.S. Department of Justice after an investigation found a pattern of excessive force and civil rights violations by the city's police department. The 105-page agreement includes sweeping changes on how Cleveland officers use force, treat the community and deal with the mentally ill. It puts the 1,500-member department under the oversight of an independent monitor.

The settlement became public came just three days after a white Cleveland patrolman was acquitted on May 23 of manslaughter for his role in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire that left two unarmed black suspects dead in a car in 2012.

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