Updated on February 11 at 2:34 p.m.
What’s more outrageous than having a police officer shoot an unarmed 12-year-old, failing to provide medical care, keeping his family forcibly from the scene, and then declining to indict the officer for the death? In most cases, little. But the city of Cleveland has found a way: It is suing Tamir Rice’s family for not paying the ambulance bill after a Cleveland cop shot and killed the boy in November 2014.
As the Scene reports, Cleveland has filed a claim in probate court, seeking $500 from Rice’s estate to pay for emergency medical services rendered after Officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot the boy. The charge is especially galling because Loehmann and another officer apparently had no training or equipment to provide aid to Rice after they shot him. They did nothing for four minutes until an FBI agent who happened to be nearby took over.
“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,” Subodh Chandra, a Rice family attorney, said in a statement. “This adds insult to homicide.”
On Thursday, Mayor Frank Jackson apologized for any pain caused by the suit and bill, which he attributed to a clerical error. He said the Rice family was never sent the preliminary bill, and the claim should have been made to the family’s insurance provider. The city says it has withdrawn the claim.