‘Unbelievable’: City of Cleveland blames 12-year-old Tamir Rice for his own death

Tamir Rice is seen allegedly pointing his weapon at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland in still image from video
Tamir E. Rice, 12, is seen allegedly pointing a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014. Rice was shot by a patrol officer on Saturday after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people. REUTERS/Cleveland Police Department/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS (Reuters)
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Supporters of the family of Tamir Rice are outraged over the city of Cleveland’s claim that the 12-year-old boy was responsible for his own shooting death.

“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.


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.”

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.

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