Cleveland mayor apologizes for wording of answer to Tamir Rice complaint

Cleveland mayor apologizes for wording of answer to Tamir Rice complaint
Tamir Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland Police at Cudell Rec Center in November 2014. (Source: Family)

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Director of Law Barbara Langhenry apologized Monday after the release of the city's answer to a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Tamir Rice's family.

"We used words and we phrased things in such a way it was very insensitive," said Mayor Jackson.

Mayor Jackson and Langhenry both issued apologies for the language used in that response, calling it insensitive and written in language used by lawyers.

12-year-old Tamir Rice was playing with a pellet gun outside a Cleveland rec center on Nov. 22, 2014.Officer Timothy Loehmann responded to a report of someone with a gun at that scene. Surveillance video showed Loehmann shot Rice within two seconds of his car stopping.

The City of Cleveland filed a 41-page document in response to a lawsuit filed by Rice's family.

In it, the city said Rice's death was caused by his failure to "exercise due care to avoid injury." 

"There's 1.7 seconds and there's no indication that this officer or these officers even gave the child a chance to comply," said Walter Madison, the family attorney.

The city also argued the "plaintiff's injuries, losses and damages complained of were directly and proximately caused by their own acts, not this defendant."

According to the Cleveland Police Department, Loehmann shot and killed Rice after he and the other responding officer said Tamir would not comply to three verbal commands and reached for his weapon in his waistband.

Samaria Rice, Tamir's mother told us, "I don't know how it's possible that a child can cause his own death. I don't have an  understanding of that."

"No two case are ever the same and every response and everything you do in that case should be tailored to the facts," said Rice family attorney Walter Madison.

"I'm accepting of the city's apology but it will never bring Tamir back," said Samaria Rice.

The city's lawsuit reply said it couldn't respond to much of what is alleged because the sheriff's department investigation is ongoing and it doesn't have the information to answer.

According to the family's court filings in December, Tamir lay on the ground for four minutes after being shot without any medical care being provided.

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