Cleveland to Pay Out $6 Million Over Fatal Shooting of 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice
The city of Cleveland will pay $6 million to settle the federal lawsuit brought by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old black boy fatally shot by a white police officer while playing with a pellet gun, according to a filing in U.S. District Court Monday.
According to the court filing, the city will pay out $3 million this year and $3 million in 2017.
“The resolution is nothing to celebrate because a 12-year-old child needlessly lost his life,” Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra told reporters, saying he thinks the settlement is the largest among such cases in Cleveland’s history.
"Although historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life," he said.
Rice’s estate was assigned $5.5 million of the settlement. Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, and Tajai Rice, his sister, were each granted $250,000.
The settlement must be approved by a Cuyahoga County Probate Court judge before it is finalized. That judge will divide the amount awarded to Rice’s estate.
The amount was decided after "negotiations for some time," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said during a news conference Monday.
The wrongful death suit filed by Rice’s family and estate against the city, officers and dispatchers involved alleged police acted recklessly when they encountered the boy on November 22, 2014.
Rice was holding an airsoft pistol that police said looked like a real firearm when he was shot and killed by rookie Officer Timothy Loehmann. The gun, which shot nonlethal plastic pellets, was missing an orange tip that most toy guns have.
Video of the incident showed a police cruiser coming to a stop in front of the boy and Loehmann firing within two seconds of opening the car door. The boy wasn’t given first aid until about four minutes later, when an FBI agent trained as a paramedic arrived on scene. He died the next day.
Police had been responding to a 911 call of a report of a boy in a park with a gun that was “probably fake,” but the description was not passed along to the officers.
"Regardless of fault or facts ... it should not have happened," Jackson said at the press conference.
"This is not easy for me personally or the city in general," he said. "And I can't speak to how difficult it must have been for the family of Tamir Rice. It's hard for me to imagine."
A grand jury declined to indict the officers and a federal civil rights investigation is pending.
The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by the defendants, the filing stated.