*On Monday, the City of Cleveland announced a $6 million dollar settlement in the police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fired on twice by officer Timothy Loehmann, as he played with a toy gun in the park, on November 22, 2014. But it was what followed the announcement that has set social media on fire. In nothing less than a stroke of pure arrogance, Cleveland’s police union issued a statement that appears to blame the victim and his family for his death.
The Rice family had filed a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged the police officers were reckless in their confrontation with the youngster. This allegation was further compounded by surveillance footage showing officer Loehmann firing twice at Tamir only seconds after opening the door of his police cruiser.
The statement by the police union expresses “hopes” that the family will “use some of the money” to educate kids about the dangers of carrying real or fake guns.
“We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” the statement read. “Something positive must come from this tragic loss. That would be educating youth of the dangers of possessing a real or replica firearm.”
Here’s a thought: Why don’t YOU, police union, make the investment since it is your officers doing the killing.
In the footage of the incident, where the cop car is seen skidding to a stop before rookie patrolman Loehmann opens his door and fires at the kid within two seconds, Tamir is not even given medical attention until close to four minutes later; when an FBI agent trained as a paramedic arrived.
Tamir died in the hospital the next day.
In a press conference in December, Tim McGinty appeared to place part of the blame on Tamir, noting that the child “looked much older” and “had been warned” that the pellet gun he was holding “might get him into trouble” that day.
Loehmann and the other officer involved in the incident escaped an indictment by a grand jury last year — a decision that renewed national debate about law-enforcement accountability and police officers’ use of lethal force.
The Cleveland police union’s statement, addressed merely to “Media,” noted Rice’s death as a tragedy for the Rice family, “as well as our involved Officers and their families.”
See a copy of the full statement directly below.