Tamir Rice was the 12-year-old boy that was fatally shot by police when the officer mistook a toy gun for a real gun. On Wednesday, the family of Tamir Rice received a bill from the city of Cleveland that claimed $500 was owed to the Emergency Medical Services that attempted to save Tamir’s life. Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland police union, commented on the city’s attempt to collect on the bill.
“Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now. It is unconscionable that the city of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family. Truly disappointing, but not at all surprising.”
— Gawker (@Gawker) February 10, 2016
The $500 bill showed, in itemized fashion, what constituted the bill’s total. According to the bill, Rice’s family was being charged $10 per mile that the ambulance drove, which was five miles, and $450 for the advanced life support procedures that were performed on Tamir in order to try and save his life.
The lawyer for the Rice family, Subodh Chandra, speaking on behalf of his client Samaria Rice, states that Rice sees the $500 ambulance bill as a form of harassment. Chandra also had words of his own to say to the city of Cleveland.
“The callousness, insensitivity and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill… is breathtaking. This adds insult to homicide.”
Asking Tamir’s family to pay for his ambulance is heartless. Cleveland should drop this fee. https://t.co/Gq8twYI1QD -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 11, 2016
Less than 24 hours after it was reported that the Rice family received a bill for the ambulance, Mayor Frank Jackson said that there was “no intent” for the family of Tamir Rice to have to pay up on the bill. Mayor Jackson claims that the bill was sent out simply because an employee was following the proper procedure for sending out bills. Mayor Jackson commented on the Rice situation.
“It was a mistake in terms of us not flagging it. But it was not a mistake in terms of the legal process. It followed the legal process.”
On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice was playing in a park close to his home. Someone saw that Tamir was taking a gun and pointing it. Concerned, the person called 911 to have officers investigate. An excerpt from the 911 call shows that the caller thought the gun could have been fake but was not completely sure.
“The guy keeps pulling it in and out. It’s probably fake. But you know what, he’s scaring the s**t out of people.”
The dispatcher who took the 911 call told police that a black male with a gun was pointing it at people. The dispatcher did not tell police that the caller thought the gun could have been fake. Police arrived on the scene quickly. Fearing the gun was real and their lives were in danger, one of the officers shot Tamir. When police were able to check out the gun, it was discovered that it was a pellet gun and the orange tip was removed from it. The orange tip is used to distinguish a gun that does not fire bullets from a gun that does.
Tamir was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead the next day. A year later, in December, a grand jury decided to not push for charges to be filed against the two police officers who responded to the call involving Tamir.
Do you think the city of Cleveland was out of line by sending an ambulance bill for the life-saving services that were performed on Tamir Rice?
[Image Via AP Photo/Mark Lennihan]