Cleveland Agrees to $6 Million Settlement with Tamir Rice's Family But Admits No Wrongdoing in 12-Year-Old's Death
The family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer in 2014, has agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city for $6 million, PEOPLE confirms.
As part of the settlement, which must be approved by a probate judge before being finalized, the city will not admit any wrongdoing, Zoe Salzman, one of the family’s lawyers, tells PEOPLE.
Because of the settlement, the case will not go to trial, which would have reignited tensions about the fatal shooting and exposed Cleveland’s police force to scrutiny.
Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, the lawfirm representing Tamir’s family, issued a statement obtained by PEOPLE saying, “Although historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life.”
The statement continued: “In a situation such as this, there is no such thing as closure or justice. 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.”
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In 2014, Tamir, who was black, was shot by a white officer while carrying a replica pellet gun outside a recreation center.
The shooting spurred public outrage because of Tamir’s age and the fact that the gun was not real. Widely-circulated surveillance video showed officer Timothy Loehmann pulling up to Tamir in a police vehicle, stepping out and almost immediately firing his gun at Tamir, who died several hours later from his gunshot wounds.
A 911 caller had told dispatchers that that the pellet gun was “probably fake” and that the person holding it was probably a juvenile, but this information was never passed on to responding officers.
In December, a grand jury cleared Loehmann of any charges for shooting Tamir.
At a press conference following the shooting, Cayahoga County District Attorney Tim McGinty called the episode “a perfect storm of human error, mistakes, and miscommunication.”
McGinty said that enhanced surveillance video shows that “it is now indisputable that Tamir was drawing his gun from his waist.”
He said it was also clear that Tamir intended to either hand over the pellet gun to officers or to show them that it wasn’t real, but that this wasn’t clear to officers.