Tamir Rice’s family should use the US$6 million offered by the city of Cleveland in compensation for his deadly shooting by a white police officer to “educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” the president of the city’s Police Patrolman’s Association wrote in a disturbing letter to the family.
“We have maintained from the onset this has been an absolute tragedy for the Rice family as well as our involved officers and their families,” Steve Loomis wrote in a letter sent to Rice’s family hours after the city’s decision Monday.
“We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland on the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”
Tamir Rice was shot and killed after officers responded to a 911 call in which a man drinking a beer and waiting for a bus outside Cudell Recreation Center reported that a man was waving a gun and pointing it at people.
The man reported the person holding the gun was likely a juvenile and the weapon probably wasn't real, but the individual who took the call is reported to have never passed this information on to the dispatcher who gave Loehmann and Garmback the high-priority call.
The Counted and the Uncounted
Tamir lived across the street from the recreation center where he played nearly every day, and at the time was carrying a plastic airsoft gun that shoots nonlethal plastic pellets.Video of the encounter shows a cruiser skidding to a stop and rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann firing within two seconds of opening the car door. Tamir wasn't given first aid until about four minutes later, when an FBI agent trained as a paramedic arrived. The boy died the next day.
The settlement comes two years after the city settled another lawsuit connected to the killings of two unarmed black people in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire at the end of a 2012 car chase. Cleveland settled a lawsuit brought by the victims' families for a total of US$3 million.