Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun tucked in his jeans, paid the ultimate price when Cleveland police opened fire on him on a wintry day back in 2014.
Now the city of Cleveland says they want more, $500 more for the ambulance ride that carried his dead body from the scene of the shooting.
The city filed a claim against Rice’s estate in Cuyahoga County Probate Court on Wednesday seeking $500 in overdue payment for “emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense.”
Of that, $450 is for the ambulance ride and $50 is for mileage.
The creditor’s decision to pursue Tamir’s family for the payment has been described by an attorney for the family as “breathtaking” and “added insult to homicide.”
“The Rice family is disturbed by the city’s behavior,” Subodh Chandra, an attorney for the family, told The Washington Post about the creditor’s claim. “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.”
Tamir was shot and killed on Nov. 22, 2014, by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann as the boy stood under a gazebo in a park outside of a rec center. Loehman, with is partner, Officer Frank Garmback, had responded to the rec center after callers reported someone pointing a gun, likely a toy gun, at passersby.
As Loehmann and Garmback rumbled through the park in their patrol car Loehman pushed open his door and opened fire on Rice before the car came to a stop. The officers opted not to render aid to the dying boy. Video of the shooting captured on a nearby surveillance camera caught the entire episode. Following the shooting the officers are seen tackling Tamir’s 14-year-old sister to the ground as she tried to run to his aid. Tamir was eventually taken away in ambulance. He died in the hospital the next day.
Loehmann said he shot Tamir after he saw the boy reaching for what he believed was a gun in his waistband, not realizing it was just a pellet gun. The shooting fed growing outrage across the country over the killings of unarmed African Americans, particularly young men and boys, by the police.
A grand jury in December declined to indict the officers involved in Tamir’s death.
The city’s $500 claim— due on March 11— has salted the family’s wounds and has even sparked outrage among the Cleveland police department’s most ardent defenders — the police union.
"Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now," police union President Steve Loomis told Cleveland’s FOX 8, referring to the Rice family's lawyer. "It is unconscionable that the city of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family.”