Tamir Rice (Photo Credit Cuyuhoga County Sheriff's Department)

The family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old, shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer in November 2014 will now receive an estimated $6 million settlement in the boy’s death from the city of Cleveland. The amount is the largest the city has ever paid out for a wrongful death in the history of Cleveland.  No amount of money will bring back the child who was shot by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann because he was playing with a toy gun. Loehmann will not face charges in the boy’s death because according to prosecutor Tim McGinty, the shooting of a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun was justified under the law. “The evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police.”

But Cleveland Police Patrolman Association President Steve Loomis can’t seem to let the family of Rice have closure. Loomis issued a heartless and victim blaming comment hours after the settlement was reached. The statement reads in part:

“We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”

Loomis’ comments are outrageous. Rice was not at fault for playing with a toy gun as millions of kids across America do every day. The fault lies with an out of control police officer who shot the child seconds after leaving his police cruiser. To say that the family should use their settlement money in the community blames the victim for his death by police rather than officer who shot Rice. Why should the family spend a dime on community education for the ignorance of police? It’s Loehmann, Tim McGinty and Loomis who should be reaching into their own pockets for this community education. A better choice would be for police to be trained on how not shoot 12-year-old Black children.

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.