Cleveland officials have agreed to pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy who was shot dead by a white police officer in 2014.
As part of the deal, Rice’s family will drop any current charges they have against the two police officers involved, while the city will not admit to any wrongdoing, Reuters reported. According court documents, the city will pay the Rice family half the money this year and the remaining in 2017.
“Although historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life,” said Subodh Chandra, the Rice family’s attorney. He added, “It is the Rice family’s sincere hope that Tamir’s death will stimulate a movement for genuine change in our society and our nation’s policing,” he added.
Clearly Twitter was here for this settlement or its stipulations:
— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) April 25, 2016
— Anika Noni Rose (@AnikaNoniRose) April 25, 2016
One lesson from the Tamir Rice settlement, to me, is that cops can literally do drive-by shootings on kids and not have to admit it’s wrong.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) April 25, 2016
The family of #TamirRice would rather have SIX dollars and Tamir be alive than this $6 million settlement from Cleveland with no justice.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 25, 2016
— Barber&Entertainer (@griotvargas) April 26, 2016
Without admitting wrongdoing we can’t reform our criminal justice system. We must hold the police accountable for their actions. #TamirRice
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) April 25, 2016
However, the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union stresses that settlements don’t bring about the much-needed change to police departments, Reuters noted.
“Settlements are no substitute for the reforms so desperately needed in Cleveland,” Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU’s Ohio chapter, said. “The web of laws and practices that prevent accountability for police misconduct needs to be taken apart and replaced with concrete solutions to eliminate racial bias in the justice system,” Link added.
In 2014, Rice was playing with a pellet gun in the park when he was shot by officer Tim Loehmann. According to CNN, Rice’s family believed that said dispatchers who called in the officers to respond to a 911 caller’s statements, should have said that Tamir’s gun was most likely a toy. They also believed that officers approached “too aggressively…and that they failed to help the boy after he had been shot.”
Sadly, a grand jury saw it differently and failed to indict Loehmann or his partner Frank Garmback on charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless or negligent homicide in December 2015.
And to add insult to injury, according to Fusion, after hearing the news that the settlement had been reached, the city’s police union sent a “disgusting and insulting” letter to the Rice family today, stating that they hope they use some of the settlement money “to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”
The absolute nerve.
But this type of victim-blaming isn’t new or rare for the city of Cleveland who have consistently blamed the 12-year-old for his own death, instead of looking at their trigger-happy police officers who confused a toy gun for a real one.