The city of Cleveland has taken a horrible, depressing situation and made it so much worse. In 2014, police fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he was playing with a pellet gun in the park, sparking outrage across the country. Now the city wants his grieving family to pay the bill.
Whatever your criticism of Cleveland might be, you can’t say it doesn’t have its accounts in order. The city government decided it should charge the Rice family for the costs incurred on his ambulance ride after their employee shot the boy to death.
Specifically, they are seeking $450 for the “advanced life support” their dying child received, and $50 for the mileage — you know, like a rental car.
Here’s Subodh Chandra, a Rice family attorney saying what everybody is thinking: “That the city would submit a bill and call itself a creditor after having had its own police officers slay 12-year-old Tamir displays a new pinnacle of callousness and insensitivity … This adds insult to homicide.”
Chandra also said that the family considers the bill a form of harassment.
Even the head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, which is supporting the officers, was appalled. “Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now,” Steve Loomis, president of the police union, told CNN. “It is unconscionable that the City of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family. Truly disappointing but unfortunately not surprising.”
Perhaps the city government is getting financially nervous because of the Rice family’s pending lawsuit against it? If Cleveland is so cash-strapped maybe they can dip into all the funds they saved by not prosecuting Timothy Loehmann, the officer who killed Rice. Or they could always charge the family a bullet fee.