“There is no price you can put on the life of a 12-year-old child.”
That was the message stressed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson Monday as he announced that city officials have reached a $6 million settlement with the family of 12-year-old police shooting victim Tamir Rice. This is reportedly the city’s largest settlement in a police-related lawsuit.
However, the amount falls right in line with settlements reached in both the Eric Garner civil case against New York ($5.9 million) and the wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city of Baltimore for Freddie Gray ($6.4 million). “In a situation like this, there’s no such thing as closure or justice,” lawyers Jonathan S. Abady and Earl S. Ward, said in a statement. “Nothing will bring Tamir back. His unnecessary and premature death leaves a gaping hole for those who knew and loved him that can never be filled.” Family attorney Subodh Chandra – who unsuccessfully ran against Timothy McGinty for the County Prosecutor’s seat in 2012; the same prosecutor who recommended to the grand jury that it not indict officers Timothy Loehmann (who shot Rice within two seconds of arriving on the scene) and Frank Garmback (the driver of the police vehicle and Loehmann’s training officer) – said that even though the settlement is one for the history books, “The resolution is nothing to celebrate because a 12-year-old child needlessly lost his life.”
Jackson echoed Chandra’s statement saying, “At the end of the day, a 12-year-old child lost their life, and that should not have happened in the city of Cleveland,” Mayor Jackson said. “It should not have happened.” He went on to say that the situation was “not easy for me personally or the city in general,” but that the settlement “protected the rights of the city and its taxpayers.”
The settlement will quell the possibilities of not only a federal civil rights trial but the chance of having to pay out on an even larger judgment. This settlement, if approved by a probate court, will cease all civil proceedings. Even though the Rice family’s wrongful death lawsuit was settled, according to terms of the settlement, the city does not acknowledge any fault in Tamir's death.
According to Associated Press reports, “an order filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland said the city will pay out $3 million this year and $3 million the next.” Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, made allegations in her claim that police did not immediately provide first aid for her 12-year-old son. She also claimed police caused “intentional infliction of emotional distress in how they treated her and her daughter after the shooting,” the Associated Press report also mentioned. McGinty previously stated that in her attempt to seek justice for her son, Rice’s mother was actually driven by “economic motives.”
McGinty has since been ousted out of office after losing his seat last month in a Super Tuesday election to Mike O’Malley. “I love the Prosecutor’s Office, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished and of all the outstanding dedicated professionals who work there,” McGinty said in a statement conceding defeat. But, it’s what he didn’t accomplish while in office that has made him the center of public ridicule. In addition to his recommendation for no indictment in the Tamir Rice case, McGinty also failed to deliver a guilty verdict in the 137 shots case involving officer Michael Brelo.
Although the city has admitted no wrong doing, the settlement is a leap forward in proving #BlackLivesMatter.