According to court documents obtained by BuzzFeed’s Stephanie McNeal, the city of Cleveland, Ohio is claiming that 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s death — as well as the pain and suffering caused to his family by it — was his own fault.
Tamir Rice was shot and killed while playing with a replica gun in a park last November. Rice had been playing with the replica in the park when rookie Officer Timothy Loehmann and his partner pulled up in a police cruiser and, within two seconds, shot him dead.
The incident was captured on video, but neither Officer Loehmann nor his partner knew that when they gave investigators their initial statements, in which they claimed that Rice was with a group of young boys and was waving the gun around with the intention of shooting someone.
The investigation was transferred from the Cleveland Police Department to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department after Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said it required “an extra layer of separation and impartiality.”
Rice’s family filed a lawsuit against the city in December, and then another in January after hiring a new set of lawyers.
The city responded to the second lawsuit by claiming that the 12-year-old’s death was his own fault, writing that “Plaintiffs’ decedent’s injuries, losses, and damages complained of, were directly and proximately caused by the failure of Plaintiffs’ decedent to exercise due care to avoid injury.”
The suffering of Rice’s family is, likewise, Rice’s fault, as the city claims that “Plaintiffs’ injuries, losses, and damages complained of, were directly and proximately caused by their own acts, not this Defendant.”