"This adds insult to homicide": Cleveland sues Tamir Rice's family for ambulance fees after cop fatally shot him

Rice's mother calls the city's callous actions "harassment"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published February 11, 2016 1:25PM (EST)

Tamir Rice
Tamir Rice

Shamelessly, fifteen months after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer and two months after a grand jury declined to indict the officer, the city has now filed a claim against the deceased child's estate for the cost of his ambulance ride to the hospital that fatal day in 2014.

Cleveland should be ashamed.

"The Rice family is disturbed by the city's behavior. The callousness, insensitivity and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill ... is breathtaking," family attorney Subodh Chandra said in a statement. "This adds insult to homicide. Ms. Rice considers this harassment."

On November 22, 2014, Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann while playing with a toy gun in a local park. Although the shooting was soon ruled a homicide, after an anguishing year long delay a Cleveland grand jury did not charge Loehmann with any crime. According to prosecutor Tim McGinty, Rice's shooting was a "perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communications." In its response to a wrongful death lawsuit, the city of Cleveland argued that Rice's death was his own fault. A federal review of the case is ongoing.

On Wednesday, the city of Cleveland filed a creditor’s claim in Cuyahoga County Probate Court of $500 for “emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense.” $450 for “ambulance advance life support” and $50 for mileage.

“The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill — its own police officers having slain 12-year-old Tamir — is breathtaking,” family lawyer Chandra told The Washington Post.

Even Cleveland's police union finds the city's suit against the Rice estate "unconscionable." Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, told WJW that Cleveland's actions are "truly disappointing but unfortunately not surprising."

Cleveland asks Rice's family to pay the $500 ambulance fee by March 11.

Cleveland Sends Tamir Rice's Family a $500 Ambulance Bill

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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