City of Cleveland Argues 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Was Responsible for His Death

Photo by Associated Press
Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland police in November for waving around a toy pellet gun.

One month after the family of Tamir Rice filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Cleveland, city officials have responded saying that the 12-year-old's death happened as a result of his actions, reports MSNBC.

Rice was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer in a public park on November 22 after 911 operators received a call saying that a boy was waving a "probably fake" gun around and scaring patrons. That disclaimer was never relayed to responding officers although, in fact, the suspected weapon was a toy gun with the orange tip removed. Surveillance video shows that within two seconds of arriving at the scene, Officer Timothy Loehmann shot Rice, who died from his injuries the following day.

In January, Rice's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Officer Loehmann accusing them of using excessive force, failing to give Rice proper medical attention, violently tackling Rice's sister, who was at the park with him, after the shooting and mistreating his mother once she arrived at the scene.

The city's response, which was filed on Friday, claims the following: "Plaintiff's injuries, losses and damages complained of, were directly and proximately caused by their own acts, not this Defendant," and his death was caused "by the failure … to exercise due care to avoid injury."

"There are a number of things that we in society don’t allow 12-year-olds to do," said Walter Madison, one of the Rice family attorneys, to The Washington Post.  "We don’t allow them to vote, we don’t allow them to drink. In court we don’t try them as adults. They don’t have the capacity to understand the consequences of their actions."

Rice's death is still under investigation.

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