The Mayor of Cleveland apologized on Thursday to the family of Tamir Rice for any pain they experienced when they learned of a claim filed against the 12-year-old boy’s estate for an ambulance ride and medical services he received after being fatally shot by police.
Mayor Frank Jackson told reporters the $500 bill was never intended to, nor was it, sent to the Rice family, but instead was made to Rice’s medical insurance company as part of a routine procedure.
Rice was holding an airsoft pistol that police said resembled a real gun when he was shot and killed by an officer outside a recreation center in November 2014.
A 911 caller reported seeing a boy in a park with a firearm they said was “probably fake,” a description not passed along to responding officers.
In a creditor’s claim filed Wednesday in Cuyahoga County Probate Court, the city said his family owed $500 for the child’s “last dying expense.”
An invoice included in the filing details the cost of each “service,” including $450 for “ambulance advance life support.”
The family was also charged $50 to cover the mileage driven by the ambulance to the hospital.
Rice’s family was floored by the bill, which their attorney called in a letter demanding the withdrawal of the claim “insensitive and callous.”
“I represent Samaria Rice … To say that she, as a grieving mother, has had a difficult time dealing with the tragic circumstances of her son’s death, is an understatement. It is curious that more than a year after Tamir died, you chose to rip wider these ugly wounds by filing a time barred claim,” Adam Fried with Reminger, Attorneys at Law wrote to the City of Cleveland.
Jackson said the bill should have been written off.
“Someone should have flagged this—in this case,” Jackson said during a press conference on Thursday.
The notice was filed six weeks after a grand jury declined to bring charges against the officer who shot Rice.