The family of Tamir Rice has been told to pay $500 for “emergency medical services” (EMS) as part of the 12-year-old’s “last dying expense,” according to a claim filed by the city of Cleveland, Ohio, Wednesday in a probate court. Rice was shot dead by police in 2014 over a toy gun.
Cleveland EMS broke down the bills stating that $450 was charged for ambulance advance life support and $50 for mileage, according to the claim posted on Scribd — a document-sharing website. The claim comes two months after a grand jury declined to indict Timothy Loehmann, the white police officer who shot Rice after mistaking the toy gun for a real one.
The claim triggered outrage among supporters of the Rice family. “I was shocked when I saw that,” Earl Ward, a Rice family lawyer, said, according to New York Daily News. “It was cold and callous and disrespectful of a family who is still grieving, especially on the heels of the grand jury decision. It’s a $500 bill and the city is responsible for his death so I don’t see how they could justify that,” Ward added.
Another lawyer for the Rice family, Subodh Chandra, told Cleveland Scene magazine that the claim “adds insult to homicide.”
"That the city would submit a bill and call itself a creditor after having had its own police officers slay 12-year-old Tamir displays a new pinnacle of callousness and insensitivity," Chandra told the magazine. "The kind of poor judgment that it takes to do such a thing is nothing short of breathtaking. Who on earth would think this was a good idea and file this on behalf of the city?” he added.
Loehmann shot Rice in the torso on Nov. 22, 2014, after responding to a call that alerted police about a "male with a gun" on the swings at a Cleveland park. Rice died at the hospital the next morning.
Last March, Rice’s mother filed a federal lawsuit against Cleveland, Loehmann and the officers involved in the call that resulted in the boy's death. The case is pending.