We perish because we know not… #TLENews
The city of Cleveland on Friday responded to a lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice with several defenses, including that the 12-year-old died and his family members suffered because of their own actions.
The city, in its response, wrote that Tamir’s death on Nov. 22 and all of the injuries his family claims in the suit “were directly and proximately caused by their own acts, not this Defendant.” It also says that the 12-year-old’s shooting death was caused “by the failure … to exercise due care to avoid injury.”
The response does not explain these defenses in more detail, though 20 defenses are listed in all, including another one that says Tamir died because of “the conduct of individuals or entities other than Defendant.”
The city also wrote that it does not have enough information to respond in full because the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into Rice’s death by police officer Timothy Loehmann is not finished.
The Sheriff’s Office has not given a timeline on completing its investigation into Tamir’s death and turning the case over to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s Office. A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office did not return messages left Friday.
The lawsuit was first filed in December and amended in January after Tamir’s family hired new attorneys. Tamir’s parents were added as plaintiffs, as was his sister Tajai Rice.
It alleges the city, Loehmann, officer Frank Garmback and 100 unknown 911 operators, police officers and city employees violated the family’s rights in the fatal Nov. 22 shooting outside the Cudell Recreation Center on West Boulevard. Officers responded to a report of a man with a gun. The boy was shot less than two seconds after the officers pulled up to the gazebo outside the recreation center.
The boy was holding a pellet gun.
It goes into detail about the moments after the shooting when Tajai Rice, 14, was tackled and restrained as she ran towards her brother screaming “my baby brother, they killed my baby brother.”
The suit also makes references to the Department of Justice’s report released on Dec. 4, which found that Cleveland police engaged in a pattern of using excessive force against suspects, and to reports of Loehmann’s questionable previous experienceas a police officer in Independence and the police’s handling of the chase and shooting of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell in 2012.
In its filing, the city, as it has done before, denied having knowledge of problems in Loehmann’s past police employment history.
Finally, in response to an accusation contained in the suit that the city was using the sheriff’s office’s investigation as an excuse to withhold information, the city says it is not doing this and is cooperating in the investigation.
Walter Madison, an Akron attorney representing the Rice family, said Friday that he believes “that there’s merit in our complaint.”
“I do believe that a 12-year-old child died unnecessarily at the hands of Cleveland police officers and I do believe that certain officers shouldn’t have been entitled to wear the uniform,” he said.
A call left for a city spokesman was not returned Friday afternoon.