Justice

Cleveland Sues Tamir Rice’s Family For Not Paying For The Ambulance That Came Too Late (Updated)

CREDIT: AP Photo

When 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland police for playing with a toy gun, officers didn’t give him medical attention for four minutes. Even if they’d tried to help, the officers didn’t have a first aid kit.

Now the city is suing the Rice family for a $500 ambulance fee, two months after a grand jury decided not to indict the shooting officer.

On Wednesday, the city filed a claim against the family “for emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense under Ohio Revised Code.”

After a lengthy and stalled investigation, a grand jury decided not to charge Cleveland Officer Timothy Loehmann with Rice’s murder — though Cleveland Scene discovered the jury may have never taken a vote on the charges at all. Many questioned prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s motives after he released several “expert” reports defending Loehmann before the grand jury’s decision.

McGinty also smeared the grieving Rice family for asking for a special prosecutor, suggesting they were milking the case for money.

“They waited until they didn’t like the reports they received. They’re very interesting people… let me just leave it at that… and they have their own economic motives,” McGinty said in November, shortly before the grand jury cleared Loehmann.

The boy’s mother, Samaria Rice, moved into a homeless shelter after the shooting.

Subodh Chandra, the family’s attorney, and Steve Loomis, the president of Cleveland’s police union, slammed the city’s decision to sue the family.

“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,” Chandra told the Cleveland Scene. “The kind of poor judgment that it takes to do such a thing is nothing short of breathtaking. This adds insult to homicide.”

Loomis, who has said Rice was “menacing” and a “12-year-old in an adult body” who was responsible for his own death, agreed.

“Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now,” he told WJW. “It is unconscionable that the City of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family. Truly disappointing but unfortunately not surprising.”

This is the second time the family of police shooting victim has been sued this month. Last week, Officer Robert Rialmo of the Chicago Police Department sued the family of Quintonio LeGrier, a mentally ill teenager he shot and killed, for $10 million. Rialmo claims the shooting and wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family have caused him “emotional trauma.”

UPDATE FEB 11, 2016 1:45 PM

Mayor Frank Jackson has apologized to the Rice family. He says the bill should not have been submitted and sent to the family.

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