First, a Cleveland police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice as he played with a toy pellet gun in a public park.
Eventually, the city declared the boy’s death at the hands of cops was his own fault.
Now, the city of Cleveland has billed Tamar Rice’s family $500 for the cost of his final ambulance ride.
“Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now,” police union President Steve Loomis told CNN affiliate WJW, referring to the Rice family’s lawyer. “It is unconscionable that the city of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family.
“Truly disappointing, but not at all surprising.”
Predictably, Chandra had his own harsh words.
“The callousness, insensitivity and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill … is breathtaking,” Chandra said. “This adds insult to homicide.”
He said Samaria Rice feels the $500 claim and invoice for her son’s ambulance ride amount to harassment.
Following widespread outrage, officials told local television stations Thursday morning that the bill had been generated automatically and that they were withdrawing the claim.
Court documents published online showed that the city of Cleveland filed suit against the boy’s estate Feb 10. The final moments of his life were itemized in an emergency medical services bill: $10 for each of the five miles it took to get him to the hospital, where he later died; $450 for advanced life support in the ambulance that took him there.
The lawsuit said that it wanted Tamir’s family to pay the bill by March 11.
A lawyer for the Rice family, Subodh Chandra, denounced the suit and told the Cleveland Scene on Wednesday, “The mayor and law director should apologize to the Rice family and withdraw this filing immediately.
“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.”
On Thursday, another lawyer for the family, Earl S. Ward, said in a telephone interview that the lawsuit was “cold and callous,” especially coming shortly after an announcement that no charges would be filed in the case.
The lawsuit, he added, was “really rubbing salt into the wounds” of the family “when in fact the city of Cleveland is responsible for his death.”
What kind of world are we living in?