One day after sending the family of Tamir Rice a “last dying expense” bill, the city of Cleveland has issued an apology and stated that the move was unintentional.
The city of Cleveland filed a creditor’s claim on Wednesday, which sought to receive payment from the estate of Tamir Rice for emergency services rendered after he was shot by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann.
The creditor’s claim, for $500, was for “owing for emergency medical services rendered as the decedent’s last dying expense under Ohio Revised Code §2117.25(A)(5),” according to city documents provided by multiple news outlets.
The claim shows a bill for services including “Ambulance Advance Life Support” and for mileage.
Rice, 12, was shot by Loehmann on November 22, 2014 at the Cudell Recreation Center, following a 911 call from an individual who reported a person holding a gun that was “probably fake.” That detail was not relayed to police, and Loehmann shot Rice, who was in possession of a plastic pellet gun, within seconds of arriving at the scene.
(Read more about the case here.)
Multiple reports from various news organizations including Cleveland.com state that after Rice was shot, he laid on the ground for several minute as the officers stood around nearby before a passerby, identifying himself as an FBI agent, began to administer first aid to Rice. Rice’s sister, Tajai, witnessed the shooting and had been handcuffed and placed in the police cruiser as Rice remained on the ground.
The video below shows the aftermath of the shooting.
The FBI agent was also a trained paramedic, and he told Cleveland.com that he arrived at the scene after he heard information on his radio about a shooting that had taken place. The agent also said that Loehmann and Garmback “wanted to do something, but they didn’t know what to do.” Cleveland.com noted that the FBI agent described a grisly scene, as Rice’s “intestines were exposed through a wound to the torso.”
Subodh Chandra, the attorney for the Rice family, condemned the city’s choice to send a bill and pursue payment through a creditor’s claim. “The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill—its own police officers having slain 12-year-old Tamir—is breathtaking. This adds insult to homicide. The Rice family considers this a form of harassment,” Chandra said in a statement.
Following Chandra’s statement, Cleveland city officials are now saying that the bill has been withdrawn.
According to CBS News, “Mayor Frank Jackson and other city officials apologized to the family Thursday and told the media that the filing was made to Rice’s medical insurance company as part of a routine procedure, but the bill was not intended to be sent to the Rice family.”
“No intent or no sending of a bill to the Tamir Rice family. Medicaid paid their portion; we closed the account and absorbed the rest. When the state asked for the information.. then it generated the other side of the process that reopened it, and sent that bill to the state,” Jackson said in a press conference Thursday, according to news station Fox8 in Cleveland.