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Laughland writes: "The city of Cleveland's defense argues that both Rice and members of his family are to blame for any damages, injuries and losses arising from the incident."

Tomiko Shine holds up a picture of Tamir Rice. (photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)
Tomiko Shine holds up a picture of Tamir Rice. (photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)


ALSO SEE: Tamir Rice Family Attorney Says 'Unbelievable' That City
of Cleveland Court Filing Blames Tamir for His Own Death

Tamir Rice 'Directly' Responsible for Own Police Shooting Death, Says City

By Oliver Laughland, Guardian UK

02 March 15

 

he death of Tamir Rice was “directly and proximately” caused by the 12-year-old’s own actions, the city of Cleveland has argued in a defense document following a civil claim from the boy’s family. Rice was shot dead by a police officer last November.

When he was shot, Rice was holding a toy gun that police mistook for a real firearm. The incident sparked widespread criticism that officer Timothy Loehmann, who killed Rice, employed a drastic overuse of force.

The city of Cleveland’s defense, filed with the US district court on Friday, argues that both Rice and members of his family are to blame for any damages, injuries and losses arising from the incident. The argument lists 20 lines of defence, including that Rice did not “exercise due care to avoid injury” and that members of his family, including his mother and teenage sister, who have lodged the claim, sustained damages “caused by their own acts”.

Video footage of the incident outside the Cuddell Recreation Center in Cleveland was obtained by local media under freedom of information laws. It shows Rice’s 14-year-old sister pushed to ground, handcuffed and taken to the back of a patrol car after arriving on the scene and seeing her brother lying in front of her.

The plaintiffs argue in a submission that was revised at the end of January, after the family took on a new legal team, that the 14-year-old screamed “my baby brother, they killed my baby brother” before she was tackled to the ground by officers.

The lawsuit also claims that Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback, did not administer first aid to the 12-year-old as he lay bleeding. It was four minutes until another law enforcement official arrived on the scene and administered medical assistance, the submission claims.

The city’s list of 20 defenses does not go into detail. A request for further comment from the Guardian on Sunday was not responded to by deadline.

The 41-page response frequently cites an ongoing police investigation, conducted by the Cuyahoga sheriff’s office in Ohio, as reason for not responding in full. The Cuyahoga sheriff’s office did not respond for a request for comment on the expected date of the investigation’s completion.

The plaintiffs also argue that Loehmann should not have been employed by Cleveland police, after he had been judged unfit for service by another department two years previously.

Loehmann’s personnel file from November 2012, first reported by local media, found the officer “could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal”.

The city of Cleveland’s response to this argument is that it is “without knowledge or information sufficient” to assess the claims.

Walter Madison, one of the Rice family’s legal team, told NBC news the plaintiffs maintained the 12 year-old was “shot and killed unnecessarily” and that his “death at the hands of an unfit police officer(s) and a division of police that continues to endorse their behavior led to our legitimate lawsuit”.


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+29 # Radscal 2015-03-02 18:37
The arrogance of the Police State is beyond description. They've gotten away with murder despite eye witnesses simply because of their authority. Now that they are getting away with murders caught on video, there is no reason for them to show any restraint whatsoever.

I don't know why the corporate media chose to begin making "news" out of "Blue on Black" killing last Summer. I've seen no evidence that there was any increase in police killing black males.

But I do think it telling that the focus has been on Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both of whom can be painted as "criminals." (No, I'm not saying they were criminals, let alone that they in any way were responsible for their murders. Just that the media had enough "evidence" to so paint them.)

To me, the two murders that SHOULD be the focus of attention are 1) this merciless killing of 12-year old Tamir, followed by the brutal takedown of his sister who was then handcuffed in the police cruiser where she watched her baby brother bleeding out.

And 2), the senseless murder of John Crawford in a Walmart store.

Both of those were videotaped murders of young blacks by unstable cops who'd been called to the scene by paranoid racist men. The cops and the cell-phone vigilantes should all be facing long prison sentences.
 
 
+2 # HowardMH 2015-03-03 10:38
Radscal I totally agree with you and would like to add a couple things BUTTT according to the General guidelines (above) I can't say that stuff.
 
 
+25 # Thomas Martin 2015-03-02 23:23
That the cause of death of Tamir Rice, who was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer last November, was “directly and proximately” caused by the 12-year-old’s own actions is simply the most abhorrent and truly barbarian ruling that any government of any municipality of anyplace in the world could have come to .... and that city is ... Cleveland Ohio, USA!!!
 
 
+17 # geraldom 2015-03-03 00:03
No one has bothered to mention how fast this all happened, no one! From what I had heard soon after the murder and before seeing the video was that the police officers involved had told their superiors that they demanded that Tamir Rice drop the gun before shooting him, that the shooting didn't happen right away. They claimed that they had warned him before shooting him. They lied and it was all on video.

We all know that Tamir Rice was shot virtually instantly as soon as the door of the patrol car was opened. The officer who murdered Tamir Rice had no time to give him a warning.

I continue to condemn Obama and his AG at the time, Eric Holder, for not immediately charging the officers involved in violating Tamir Rice's civil rights. I continue to condemn Obama and his DOJ for not properly investigating the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases and charging all officers involved with violating the civil rights of their victims. Obama and his DOJ have, in effect, taken absolutely no actions against any of the white police officers involved in the murders of unarmed Afro-Americans, or even the murder of that white homeless man in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
 
 
+8 # nogardflow 2015-03-03 00:52
While I agree with most of your comment geraldom, I think the last paragraph lays the blame on the wrong people. I believe involving the US AG should be the last resort, the citizens of Cleveland need to take responsibility for the people they vote into office and thereby the people that are hired to fill city administration jobs. People need to fight at the local level and only if all else fails, seek help at the State or Federal levels.
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2015-03-03 15:54
Quoting nogardflow:
While I agree with most of your comment geraldom, I think the last paragraph lays the blame on the wrong people. I believe involving the US AG should be the last resort, the citizens of Cleveland need to take responsibility for the people they vote into office and thereby the people that are hired to fill city administration jobs. People need to fight at the local level and only if all else fails, seek help at the State or Federal levels.


The citizens of Cleveland won't take action. That's why the AG's action is necessary.``
 
 
+12 # RaW 2015-03-03 07:34
I remember going to a park with a BB rifle when I was about 12. Two policemen saw me, and politely told me that I shouldn't have the gun in the park because I could hurt someone. They asked me where I lived, and gave me a ride back. They knocked on the door and introduced themselves to my mother, then left.
I've enjoyed 55 years of LIFE since that incident, and none of it in jail or with a criminal record.
That was then, and I am white.
 
 
+1 # Reyn 2015-03-03 09:06
The union official who gave their official position is at: stephenloomis@cppa.org

I was going to give my own response to him as a sample of what might be said - but it takes too many symbols, so do with the email as you will.

Hermes
 
 
+6 # kalpal 2015-03-03 09:11
sociopaths invariably assert that their victims are entirely at fault for having been victimized by the self same sociopaths.

Two seconds is long enough for a 12 year old child to realize that his actions are forcing a police officer to kill him.
 
 
+5 # Phlippinout 2015-03-03 10:23
God bless his family, now they will hate cops as much as I do! Everyone that witnesses cops being the thugs they are will never respect or like them.
 
 
+6 # lfeuille 2015-03-03 15:57
He was 12 for god's sake. 12 year olds are by definition not responsible. They were adults. They were the ones responsible.
 
 
+1 # treespeaker 2015-03-03 20:58
Concerning the defense of this senseless murder it is a perfect example of denial and projection by the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland police force by putting the blame back on this poor family. One these days these killer cops all over America will get their dues. It is called Karma - what goes around comes around. God help protect us from these evil killers
 
 
0 # Kootenay Coyote 2015-03-12 10:05
What kind of idiocy is Cleveland’s case? Or why is it presented if ‘an ongoing police investigation, conducted by the Cuyahoga sheriff’s office in Ohio, as reason for not responding in full.’? Racism here is too blatant to mistake for anything else….
 

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