Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and law director Barbara Langhenry apologized Monday at a news conference for the language used in the city’s response to the civil lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice. Jackson said the document contained phrasings that were inappropriate and unfeeling. “This is not the character or personality of the city of Cleveland to be that insensitive to the family or even the victim,” said Jackson, according to WJW, Cleveland.
In response to the Rice family's 27-count lawsuit against the city, the document alleged Rice, 12, was responsible for his own death. “Plaintiffs’ injuries, losses, and damages complained of, were directly and proximately caused by their own acts, not this defendant,” the document says. The Rice family subsequently filed a complaint.
Jackson apologized, saying the city's law department will file an amended version of Cleveland's response to the lawsuit. “We recognized that in this case it was inappropriate. … That’s why we are here to apologize for something that was not intended to happened,” he said. “We don’t want to be in the mode of demonization” of the victim, Jackson told the press conference.
Rice was shot and killed by a police officer Nov. 22 following a 911 call about a male with gun at the Cudell Recreation Center. The weapon was later discovered to be an airsoft gun. Rice’s family filed a lawsuit accusing the officers of excessive force and assault and battery. Tim Loehmann, the police officer who shot Rice, was found to have a poor record during firearm training and had shown a “lack of maturity” on previous police assignments.