Responding to a lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice, Cleveland city officials blamed the 12-year-old youth for inciting a police officer to fatally shoot him as he played on a playground, according to Cleveland.com.
The response came Friday to a lawsuit filed by the Rice family, stating that the child "died and his family members suffered because of their own actions," the report notes.
Further, the city's lawyers charge in the response that Tamir's death on Nov. 22 and all of the injuries his family claims in the suit "were directly and proximately caused by their own acts, not this Defendant," the report says. The response also claims that the 12-year-old's shooting death was caused "by the failure … to exercise due care to avoid injury."
While also stating that Tamir died because of "the conduct of individuals or entities other than Defendant," the response does not elaborate on any of the 20 other offenses, the report notes. Part of the reason, officials say, is that the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the shooting by Police Officer Timothy Loehmann.
Tamir was gunned down before Thanksgiving while playing with a toy gun on a playground near his home. A 911 complaint about a "guy with a gun" prompted police to respond to the scene, and surveillance footage shows police shooting the child within seconds of arriving at the scene. Although the caller said that the gun was "probably fake," the message reportedly never made it to officers.
Walter Madison, an Akron attorney representing the Rice family, told Cleveland.com that the family's suit has great merit. "I do believe that a 12-year-old child died unnecessarily at the hands of Cleveland police officers, and I do believe that certain officers shouldn't have been entitled to wear the uniform," he told the news outlet.
A city spokesman Friday did not return calls to Cleveland.com.
Read more at Cleveland.com.