City of Cleveland argues Tamir Rice responsible for his own death

By now, most of you know the story of the death of Tamir Rice: Last fall, while the 12-year-old playing with a toy pellet gun in a park, Timothy Loehmann and partner Frank Garmback were responding to a call about a person with a gun, and while the caller pointed out the person was a child and the gun likely a toy, the dispatcher did not pass this information on to the officers.

Video footage shows Loehmann shooting Rice less than two seconds after arriving on scene and exiting his vehicle, and first aid was not administered until nearly four minutes later.

On Friday, the City of Cleveland responded to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Rice’s family against the city and the police officers involved in the shooting. In its response, the city denies any wrongdoing and claims the boy and his family are responsible for any “losses” suffered. The city also states that Rice’s death was “directly and proximately caused by… [his] own acts,” as well as his “failure to exercise due care to avoid injury.”

The city’s filing comes not long after statements made by Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association president Steve Loomis, as reported by Politico Magazine, portraying Rice as “menacing… [not] the little kid you see in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body,” and as “the guy with the gun.”

So, in summation, authority figures in Cleveland give full agency to Rice when it comes to his responsibility for being shot and killed, but not when it comes to his ability to be a child playing with a toy in a park. It’s their opinion that Rice should have known better than to do something a lot 12-year-old boys do, because in fact, he wasn’t even a 12-year-old boy—he was some kind of menace in an adult’s body.

Trained officers of the law and 911 dispatchers, who are actual adults, on the other hand, can’t be held responsible when their errors and awful judgment result in tragedy.

[USA Today | Politico Magazine]

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