Cleveland city officials, on Thursday, said the reimbursement claim against the family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old fatally shot by a police officer, was unintended. In fact, Cleveland’s Mayor Frank Jackson issued a statement, apologizing to the family, according to The New York Times.
Apparently, the claim filed against the Rice family over their child’s “last dying expense,” which was measly $500 ambulance bill and medical service charges, has already been withdrawn.
Jackson claimed the city turned over the bill to the estate's executor out of legal obligation.
“Again, apologizing to the Rice family if in fact this has added to any grief or pain that they may have,” he said at news conference on Thursday.
However, Jonathan Abady, the family’s lead counsel on the death lawsuit against the city, doesn’t think the claim was a mistake.
“This is obviously a deliberate, considered action by the city of Cleveland; it required a formal court filing,” he said.
In a particularly cruel legal maneuver, the City of Cleveland has ordered the estate of Tamir Race, the 12-year-old black boy killed by the police, to pay hundreds of dollars to the government to cover “emergency medical services” for the child’s “last dying expense.”
The city went so far as to file a creditor's claim against the Rice family, asking them to pay $450 for “advance life support” that did not save their kid and $50 for the mileage driven by the ambulance to the hospital where he died. The total bill comes to a measly $500.
“That the city would submit a bill and call itself a creditor after having had its own police officers slay 12-year-old Tamir displays a new pinnacle of callousness and insensitivity,” said Subodh Chandra, an attorney for the family. “The kind of poor judgment that it takes to do such a thing is nothing short of breathtaking. Who on earth would think this was a good idea and file this on behalf of the city? This adds insult to homicide.”
Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot Rice in November 2014, within two seconds of arriving at a local park, in response to a 911 call that warned of a juvenile carrying a weapon that was “probably fake.”
Loehmann and Officer Frank Garmback, another cop on the scene, did not even check Rice’s vital signs or perform first aid in the minutes after he was shot. Instead, they physically restrained the boy’s sister when she attempted to reach him.
The child, whose death is tied to the birth of Black Lives Matter movement, was indeed playing with a toy gun. However, Loehmann later testified that he thought Rice was 18 years old, which lead to a grand jury declining to file criminal charges against him.
“I was shocked when I saw that,” said Earl Ward, a Rice family lawyer. “It was cold and callous and disrespectful of a family who is still grieving, especially on the heels of the grand jury decision. It’s a $500 bill and the city is responsible for his death so I don’t see how they could justify that.”
The claim, posted below, was reportedly made in probate court under a state law covering debt collection of those who have died.