The city of Cleveland is drawing outrage after it demanded payment for the ambulance used to take 12-year-old Tamir Rice to the hospital after he was shot by police.
The city filed suit Wednesday in Cuyahoga County Probate Court to get an overdue claim on $500, the cost of Rice’s ambulance ride after he was shot by officers in November of 2014, The Plain Dealer reports. Cleveland Mayor Mark Jackson has since said at a press conference Thursday the claim was a mistake and will be withdrawn. He also said that a bill was never actually sent to the family.
“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,” Rice family attorney, Subodh Chandra, told The Plain Dealer. “This adds insult to homicide.”
Jackson attributed the claim to part of the system that was not intentional.
“No intent or no sending of a bill to the Tamir Rice family,” Jackson said at the conference. “Medicaid paid their portion; we closed the account and absorbed the rest. When the state asked for the information.. then it generated the other side of the process that reopened it, and sent that bill to the state.”
The officers rolled up on Rice after a police dispatcher informed them the boy might be an active shooter. In a video of the incident, Rice appears to reach for a gun on his waist, prompting police to fatally shoot him. The gun turned out to be a toy. Protesters also accused the officers of failing to get medical help for Rice.
“Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now,” police union President Steve Loomis told CNN affiliate WJW. “It is unconscionable that the city of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family.”
A grand jury decided in December the two police officers involved in the shooting will not go to trial for Rice’s death.
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