The family of Tamir Rice and the city of Cleveland have reached a settlement over the shooting of the 12-year-old boy. The family will receive a total of $6 million, with the bulk of that money going to the estate of Tamir Rice. The settlement was reached on Monday morning and will bring a federal lawsuit the boy’s mother, Samaria Rice, had launched against the municipality. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be any more legal actions involving the shooting death back in 2014, but it does seem to take some tension out of the proceedings.
As Cleveland.com reports, the settlement between the Rice family and Cleveland means that neither party really wanted to get into open court and sling some weighty accusations and incriminations against one another. The settlement wasn’t announced by either the Rice family or Cleveland but was instead revealed through a court filing from U.S. District Judge Dan Polster. Polster was presiding over those settlement talks and accepted the deal, making it official.
Buzzfeed broke the order down, showing that Tamir Rice’s estate is getting the vast majority of this payout — $5.5 million. Samaria Rice is will receive $250,000 and the boy’s sister, Tajai, will also receive $250,000. The $6 million payment will be broken down into two payments spread out over 2016 and 2017. Cleveland will be paying $3 million this year and $3 million next year. It was not made clear whether Samaria and Tajai would also be getting their payments split up or whether they will be receiving their portions in one lump sum. The final step, before money can start going out to the parties involved, is that the settlement will need to be officially accepted by the Cuyahoga County Probate court, but at this point, that seems to be a formality rather than a bump in the road.
The Tamir Rice payout appears to be in line with other amounts paid in cases where police were found to have shot someone and the motivations behind the shooting were found to be in question. The Tamir Rice case is the latest agreement to see dollar amounts go over $5 million, although it does fall just short of a payment of $6.4 million to the family of Freddie Gray, whose neck was broken while being transported in a police van in 2015.
Lawyers representing the estate of Tamir Rice issued a statement shortly after the agreement went public. Those attorneys believe the payout is of a historic nature but were quick to add there isn’t an amount of money that can wipe out the hurt and heartbreak of those who were close to Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by an officer while the child brandished a toy gun at a Cleveland playground.
The officer in the Tamir Rice case has long claimed the Tamir Rice looked like he was quite a bit older than 12. Officer Timothy Loehmann also claimed the pellet gun at the center of this controversy looked to real to simply dismiss as a toy. One of the reasons the city likely agreed to settle the lawsuit was because of one 911 recording where a bystander reported to the operator he believed the young man had a fake gun, but he couldn’t be sure. It has been speculated police might have responded differently had the operator passed that information on to those responding to the call.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty went on record shortly after the shooting death, saying the incident was a “perfect storm of human error.” McGinty added he didn’t believe any of the circumstances surrounding the killing of Tamir Rice by police officers rose to the level of criminality.
[Photo by Tony Dejak/AP Images]