*The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer while playing with a pellet gun, was sent a $500 bill to pay for his emergency medical treatment – and was eventually sued by the city to collect the payment.
But on Thursday, officials told local television stations that the bill had been generated automatically and that they were withdrawing the claim.
The documents were initially signed by legal officials and posted online, drawing denunciation from the family’s attorneys, one of whom called the suit by the city on Wednesday “nothing short of breathtaking.”
The documents showed that the city of Cleveland filed suit against the boy’s estate Feb 10. The final moments of his life were itemized in an emergency medical services bill: $10 for each of the five miles it took to get him to the hospital, where he later died; $450 for advanced life support in the ambulance that took him there.
The lawsuit said that it wanted Tamir’s family to pay the bill by March 11.
A lawyer for the Rice family, Subodh Chandra, denounced the suit and told the Cleveland Scene on Wednesday, “The mayor and law director should apologize to the Rice family and withdraw this filing immediately.
“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.”
On Thursday, another lawyer for the family, Earl S. Ward, said in a telephone interview that the lawsuit was “cold and callous,” especially coming shortly after an announcement that no charges would be filed in the case.
The lawsuit, he added, was “really rubbing salt into the wounds” of the family “when in fact the city of Cleveland is responsible for his death.”
The fatal shooting of the 12-year-old became a flash point in the national debate over police killings of African-Americans.