03/04/2015 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Cleveland, Ohio – The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Rice was killed by a Cleveland police officer last year while playing outside a recreational center. Rice was carrying a toy gun at the time. A 911 call had been made accusing Rice of scaring people with the gun. Information about the gun possibly being fake was not given to responding officers Frank Gamback and Timothy Loehmann. Loehmann reportedly shot Rice within two seconds after arriving at the scene.

The city of Cleveland has released a 41-page response to the lawsuit, in which they place blame on the 12-year-old for his own death. The city’s response claims that Rice’s injuries “were directly and proximately caused by the failure of Plaintiffs’ decedent to exercise due care to avoid injury.”

Rice’s representatives and family have expressed disagreement with the response. Attorney Walter Madison, one of the family’s co-counsel had this to say in a statement as reported by WebProNews, “The Rice family maintains that Tamir was shot and killed unnecessarily by Cleveland police officers.”

He went on to say, “Their tactics that preceded his death and the subsequent victim blaming are examples of the institutionalized behavior that has beset the Cleveland Police Department. The Rice family’s lawsuit seeks to eliminate certain institutional behaviors and practices that have no place in our diverse community.”

After the 12-year-old was shot, neither Gamback nor Loehmann called for ambulance assistance. An FBI agent came to the scene and called four minutes later. Rice died the next day at the hospital.

Following a two-year investigation, the Cleveland Police Department was found to have been guilty of using excessive force. It was also revealed that there were complaints about Officer Loehmann’s inability to handle stress and emotional state at the police force where he was previously employed.

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