In a settlement announced Monday, the City of Cleveland agreed to pay 6 million dollars to the family of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy who was fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer in November of 2014 for playing with a toy pellet gun.
The settlement, which will be paid out over the course of two years, was the city’s first official acknowledgement that some recompense was owed to the Rice family, after a grand jury declined to indict Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot him in December.
The city of Cleveland had previously responded to the Rice family’s wrongful death lawsuit by maintaining that Rice was at fault for the incident and for his death, a position that was only somewhat reversed with Monday’s ruling. Mayor Frank Jackson has publicly apologized for the city’s previous stance, stating that though he hopes the settlement will bring the Rice family some degree of closure, “there is no price that you can put on the life, on the loss, of a 12-year-old child.” However, in spite of the settlement, the city continues to admit no wrongdoing in Rice’s death. When asked how the city could award the settlement but still not admit culpability, Jackson replied that it was just “a legal way of doing things.”
The settlement is one of a number of similar cases: the city of Cleveland has paid out at least $10.5 million in wrongful death lawsuits in the ten years preceding Rice’s death.
For the Rice family, the ruling is a relief, especially considering the fact that, while still maintaining that Rice was at fault for his own death, the city of Cleveland attempted to bill the Rice family $500 for his final ambulance ride.
However, the glaring incongruity of the continued refusal to admit that Tamir Rice died a wrongful death is strongly felt. The Rice family’s attorneys issued a statement saying that although the settlement was notable and historic in financial terms, “no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life. In a situation such as this, there is no such thing as closure or justice. Nothing will bring Tamir back.”