After 12-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann last year while holding a pellet gun, the City of Cleveland is now holding Rice responsible for his own death. Rice’s family has filed a wrongful death suit against the officers involved, and in court documents filed Friday, allegations were made against the late Rice.
“The city offers 20 defenses, one of which states that the family’s ‘injuries, losses and damages … were directly and proximately caused by the acts of the Plaintiff’s decedent (Rice), not this Defendant’,” states a CBS News report. “The city also argues that Rice failed to ‘exercise due care to avoid injury.’”
Rice was shot by Loehmann on November 22, 2014 after officers responded to a 911 call about a person pointing a gun. The gun turned out to be a toy pistol missing the orange safety cap meant to clearly identify toy firearms from authentic ones. Local surveillance video shows Loehmann shooting Rice in the stomach within two seconds of the patrol car arriving. Rice died the next day, and the lawsuit filed by Rice’s family alleges the 12-year-old lay on the ground four minutes without medical treatment. An autopsy by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s report ruled Rice’s death a homicide.
In the suit, the Rice Family also references a video of police preventing Rice’s sister, Tajai, from aiding Tamir.
In December 2014, the Department of Justice released the results of a 20-month investigation into the Cleveland Police Department. The investigation, which was concluded before Rice’s death, stated there was “reasonable cause to believe that CDP engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”