Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson apologized Monday for how the city had characterized the Tamir Rice case.
Jackson told reporters the city was apologizing to the Rice family and the people of Cleveland “for our poor use or words and our insensitivity. “
The mayor’s statement Monday came days after a city court filing said the death of Tamir, a 12-year-old who was shot by police in November, was the sixth-grader’s own fault.
Cleveland Officer Timothy Loehmann fired the fatal shots at Tamir in November within 2 seconds of arriving outside a recreation center where Tamir was playing with a pellet gun.
In a 41-page response to the family’s lawsuit filed Friday, the city says that Tamir’s injuries “were directly and proximately caused by the failure of Plaintiffs’ decedent to exercise due care to avoid injury.” The response further says that “Plaintiffs’ decedent’s injuries, losses, and damages complained of, were directly and proximately caused by the acts of Plaintiffs’ decedent, not this Defendant.”
Cleveland authorities have repeatedly said that Loehmann mistook Tamir’s fake gun for a real one.
An attorney for the Rice family has said the city’s response to the lawsuit last week is indicative of well-documented problems within the Cleveland Police Department.
“The Rice family maintains that Tamir was shot and killed unnecessarily by Cleveland police officers,” Rice family co-counsel Walter Madison said in a statement.