Cleveland: Stop Punishing Tamir Rice's Family

On November 22, 2014, a 12 year-old child by the name of Tamir Rice played with a toy gun outside of Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland Ohio. A concerned person nearby saw Tamir pointing the toy and called 911, informing the dispatcher that the potential weapon might be a fake gun and that the person with the toy appeared to be a juvenile. This bit of crucial information never made it to the responding officers and two seconds after arriving on the scene, Tamir was shot in the torso.

An ambulance was called to the scene to take the now injured child to the hospital. Unfortunately, Tamir succumbed to his injuries and died the next day. The sheriff's office investigated this incident and turned their findings over to the county prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office presented the evidence to a grand jury, which decided not to indict the officer who shot this child.

This week — as though the pain of losing a child were not enough — the City of Cleveland billed Tamir's family for the boy's ambulance ride to the hospital where he died. The city has since said the bill was automatically generated and a mistake, but the billing follows a long string of insulting moves by the city against this grieving family. Cleveland has:

  • Billed the family for the storage of Tamir's body; and
  • Insinuated that the family's civil suit against the city was little more than a cash grab; and
  • Blamed the child for his own murder, saying that that Tamir had not shown sufficient caution in the two-seconds before he was shot by a police officer who had previously been fired by another department for failing to meet that community's standards for law enforcement skills.

The Rice family's nightmare must end. Demand that Cleveland's mayor immediately settle with Tamir's family and acknowledge its wrongdoing so that this boy's family can finally find justice and peace.

Dear Mayor Frank Jacson,

To have asked the family of Tamir Rice to pay for the ambulance ride that was a result of your officer's careless actions is unconscionable and callous. It is time for the Rice family's long nightmare to finally end. Please immediately settle with Tamir's family in the civil suit they have brought against the city and finally acknowledge Cleveland's extensive and continued wrongdoing in this awful tragedy. 

[Your comments here]

Thank you,

[Your name]

Update #14 years ago
Success! Cleveland has waived ambulance fees and today also settled a lawsuit brought by the family of young Tamir Rice, who was killed last year by a police officer within seconds of the officer's arrival. Thanks to the efforts of you and other caring people, the city has agreed to pay $6 million for the family's loss. Money can't make up for a child's death, but your efforts helped secure some measure of justice for this grieving family.
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