BREAKING: Cleveland To Pay $6M To Family Of Tamir Rice
An all-to-familiar story is working it’s way to an all-too-familiar conclusion as the city of Cleveland, Ohio has agreed to pay a multi-million dollar settlement to the family of an unarmed person of color shot to death by the city’s police force. In a settlement filed early Monday, the city agreed to pay $6 Million to the estate and surviving relatives of Tamir Rice — an African-American child who was shot and killed by Cleveland Police Department Officer Timothy Loehmann on November 22, 2014. At the time of the shooting, Loehmann was an officer in training. Rice was only twelve years old. According to the filing:
The City of Cleveland will pay $6 million to settle all claims. According to the civil lawsuit document, the City shall pay $3 million in 2016 and $3 million in 2017.
The $6-million settlement is allocated as follows: claims of the estate of Tamir Rice is $5,500,000.00; claims of Samaria Rice is $250,000; claims of “TR” is $250,000.
There is no admission of wrongdoing and all plaintiffs will execute full releases against the City of Cleveland and all individual defendants.
Rice was shot to death while playing with a pellet gun outside of a community recreation center when Loehmann and his partner Officer Frank Garmback responded to a dispatch call about a person with a gun. Over a year later, a grand jury failed to return a single indictment against Garmback or Loehmann.
Cleveland The Latest City to Reach This Type of Settlement.
It’s an unfortunate sign of the times that a city settling with the surviving family of an unarmed citizen who was not engaged in felony activity at his time of death is becoming commonplace. Furthermore, that these massive sums that taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for are sometimes taking place in lieu of criminal justice might be even more regrettable. Beyond the Tamir Rice settlement, in the last ten months, related proceedings include:
An ongoing lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Michael Brown against the city of Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot to death by police, and like the death of Rice and Garner, the homicide resulted in no criminal charges.
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While the families of these victims no doubt deserve compensation, society should not be the one to “settle” the values of its criminal justice system by knowing that the checkbook the insurance policy for the tipped scales of justice that so often lean against the people when they tragically meet their death at the hands of the state. Knowing that a municipal government is ready and able to pay off survivors can be just enough to move the opinions of prospective grand jurors already uncomfortable with the fact that they are tasked with potentially charging officers of the law.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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Ed Hanratty is a Reverb Press contributor and freelance political journalist. A lifelong New Jerseyan, he prides himself on having just enough Garden State sarcasm and skepticism to keep his bleeding heart in check. Keep up with Ed’s work and random ramblings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the links below…but not Snapchat — that’s where he’s decided to draw the social media line. (For Now)