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“It’s unbelievable,” Walter Madison, one of the Rice family’s attorneys, told the Washington Post on Monday. “There are a number of things that we in society don’t allow 12-year-olds to do. We don’t allow them to vote, we don’t allow them to drink. In court we don’t try them as adults. They don’t have the capacity to understand the consequences of their actions.”
Benjamin Crump, Rice family co-counsel, told CNN that the family was “just in disbelief.”
Tamir Rice was killed on Nov. 22 outside a recreation center by police officers who were responding to a report of a person with a gun. Rice, who was playing with a pellet gun, was shot within seconds after officers arrived at the scene by rookie cop Timothy Loehmann, who reportedly said he had “no choice” but to defend himself.
The family’s lawsuit, filed in December, alleges police used excessive force and failed to immediately provide first aid.
On Friday, the city’s attorneys responded to a lawsuit filed by the family, saying their claims “were directly and proximately caused by their own acts” and that Tamir caused his own death “by the failure ... to exercise due care to avoid injury.”
Not surprisingly, the city’s seemingly cold response has drawn considerable outrage online.
— Andra Searles (@andrasearles) March 2, 2015
Under what circumstances is a 12 y.o. boy reponsbile for his murder by a police offficer? WHEN HE IS BLACK. #TamirRice
— Sil Lai Abrams (@Sil_Lai) March 2, 2015
Other measures could have been taken and that is not his fault. #TamirRice
— Maria Young (@_RiaYoung) March 2, 2015
My rebuttal to Cleveland's infuriating excuses & lies on why they murdered 12 year old 6th grader Tamir Rice.http://t.co/upYWGxBeOHRT!
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) March 2, 2015
Tamir Rice was a child, playing in a park, who did not at any point break any law. Video makes it hard to argue he did not comply w/officers
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) March 2, 2015
The Tamir Rice case literally makes me sick to my stomach
— Bri (@ArbriOHH) March 2, 2015
You know in American Sniper where the guy tells C Kyle they'll fry him if he kills that kid and he's not a threat? Unrealistic. #TamirRice
— TV Is Great (@tvisgreat) March 2, 2015
How is this possible? Cleveland: 12-year-old's death his own fault http://t.co/OKKRvgGq6g
— Kate Ottavio Kent (@KOttavioKent) March 2, 2015
The city’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests seeking further comment.
Last week, the head of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association suggested Tamir was an adult-size suspect.
“He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures,” Steve Loomis, the association's president, told Politico. “He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body.”
And again, police are using the narrative of the menacing super-human black kid. This time, Tamir Rice http://t.co/jCkiJQj5if
— Justin Ellis (@JustinNXT) March 2, 2015
the City of Cleveland is now using the police union's logic to defend itself: it is Tamir's fault that he was shot http://t.co/yyrki50r9k
— license to shrill (@theshrillest) March 2, 2015
— Ms. Wright (@msonemic) March 2, 2015
In its 41-page filing, the city said it is not able to fully respond, because the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into Rice’s death is not finished.