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Cleveland To Shell Out Millions For Tamir Rice’s Death

Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir, speaks at a news conference after his fatal shooting. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/TONY DEJAK
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir, speaks at a news conference after his fatal shooting. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/TONY DEJAK

On Monday morning, four months after a legally questionable grand jury decided not to indict the cop who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the City of Cleveland settled a $6 million wrongful death lawsuit with the boy’s family.

Rice was gunned down while holding a toy gun in November 2014, less than two seconds after shooting officer Timothy Loehmann exited his vehicle. Rice, who Loehmann and his partner described as an 185 pound 18-year-old, wasn’t given verbal commands to drop the fake gun before he was shot. Then Loehmann and his partner ignored Rice for four minutes as he lay on the ground bleeding.

In the year leading up to the grand jury’s decision, law enforcement officials hired by Rice’s estate to investigate the shooting concluded that the use of deadly force was “reckless” and “excessive.” A judge also determined that there was probable cause to charge Loehmann. But prosecutor Tim McGinty stalled the investigation and hired two independent investigators with known police bias who said the shooting was reasonable. Then he publicly smeared Samaria Rice, saying her search for justice was economically-motivated.

In the wrongful death lawsuit, Samaria pointed to the officers’ failure to help her son as he was dying, as well as emotional distress caused by police after the incident. After the shooting, Rice moved into a homeless shelter because she couldn’t bear to live near the park where her son was shot.

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Cleveland will pay all of the money by next year. This isn’t the first time the city has shelled out millions to settle wrongful death lawsuits. The families of two people shot 137 times following a massive police chase received $3 million as well.

Similar payments have also been doled out to the families of Eric Garner and Freddie Gray — $5.9 million and $6.4 million, respectively. Last year, Chicago agreed to give $5.5 million to police torture victims. In most cases, police departments don’t foot the bill for wrongful death settlements, forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab so that the government can pay victims’ families.