Last December, a Cleveland officer killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice and forever shattered a family’s sense of peace in the process. Now police expect that same grieving family to foot the bill for the medical care provided to their dying son.
The City of Cleveland has filed a creditor’s claim against the “estate” of the young boy. They expect the Rice family to pay five hundred dollars for “emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense.”
“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,” the family’s attorney, Subodh Chandra, said in an emailed statement. “This adds insult to homicide.”
Tamir was gunned down by a Cleveland police officer after he was seen playing with a replica airsoft gun. The officers drove a police cruiser right next to the boy and his partner killed him within two seconds of exiting the vehicle.
“The shooting of Tamir Rice was inconsistent with generally accepted standards and norms in police practices and … it was an unreasonable and unjustified use of deadly force,” reads a report written by law enforcement expert Roger Clark. “The killing of this child was completely avoidable and preventable, and should never have occurred.”
Despite all signs pointing to reckless brutality, the grand jury declined to indict the officers for any crime. And now, as though depriving Tamir Rice’s family of justice wasn’t bad enough, they’re being billed five hundred dollars for the ambulance ride, a ride he would never have needed in the first place had two Cleveland police officers taken more than two seconds to assess the situation.
“Nobody, not a child, not an adult, can do anything in less than two seconds,” Tamir’s mom said. “They didn’t give it any time to at least see what was going on.”