In an attempt to remove all blame from police officers, lawyers for the city of Cleveland blamed Tamir Rice, 12, for his own death.
Rice was on a playground with a pellet gun when police officer Timothy Loehmann jumped out of his patrol car and shot Rice within seconds of arriving at the playground. Rice didn’t receive medical attention for five minutes after he was shot. Also, his 14-year-old sister was tackled by police and slammed to the ground after attempting to check on her younger brother as he lay motionless on the ground.
Rice’s family has since filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Cleveland.
Lawyers for the city said Loehmann was not responsible for Rice’s death because the victim failed to “exercise due care to avoid injury.” They also said that Rice caused his own death.
There was a backlash against the city’s bold statements of placing blame on a child who was murdered by a paranoid police officer.
Cleveland’s mayor, Frank Jackson, apologized for the insensitive remarks.
“In an attempt to protect our defenses, we used words and phrased things in such a way that was very insensitive to the tragedy in general and the victim in particular. We are apologizing to the family and the citizens of the city of Cleveland for our poor use of words,” Jackson said.