Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Cleveland blames 12-year old boy for his own death at the hands of cops

It sounds like a sick Onion article, but the City of Cleveland is claiming that the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice at the hands of police officers was his own fault. Tamir was playing with a replica gun at a park when police pulled up and, within seconds, shot the boy to death. Here is the argument made by the city:

“Plaintiffs’ decedent’s injuries, losses, and damages complained of, were directly and proximately caused by the failure of Plaintiffs’ decedent to exercise due care to avoid injury.”

In other words, Tamir died because he didn’t have superhuman powers to get out of the way of bullets fired in his direction. On top of that, the city says that the suffering of Rice’s family is also his fault in a cynical attempt to derail a lawsuit filed by the family.

Before they knew the incident was videotaped, the officers clamed there was a group of boys in the park and Tamir was waving the gun around threatening to shoot someone. The video, however, reveals the boy was alone and he was shot almost immediately after the squad car came to a stop.

Racist, violent, out-of-control cops are a serious problem, but equally problematic is a justice system that allows them to get away with murder. We see this happening time after time and then we still ask ourselves why minorities in America are so distrustful of the police.

The City of Cleveland’s attempt to convince us that Tamir was responsible for his own murder would be hilarious if it wasn’t such a tragic issue. Place a white boy in Tamir’s shoes, and we all know the sequence of events would have been much different. American cities need to spend less time and money on military paraphernalia and more on quality training for cops on the streets. And the justice system has to start treating the police like anyone else who breaks the law.


Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson issued an apology this morning for the "very insensitive response" to the family's lawsuit and the city is drafting a revised document. There was no apology for the shooting death of Tamir Rice.

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