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Cleveland mayor apologizes for response to Tamir Rice lawsuit

CLEVELAND- Mayor Frank Jackson discussed the City of Cleveland’s response to the civil lawsuit filed by the family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

On Nov. 22, a 911 caller reported a male with a gun at the Cudell Recreation Center. After Cleveland police arrived, one officer shot Rice, who died the next day. Police later learned the weapon was airsoft.

In court documents, the city said Rice failed to exercise due care.

During his news conference on Monday, Jackson and law director Barbara Langhenry apologized for the language in the city's response. Jackson called the document's phrasing inappropriate and insensitive to Rice and his family.

"This is not the character or personality of the city of Cleveland," Jackson said, "to be that insensitive to the family or even the victim."

Monday night, Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice, told FOX 8's Kevin Freeman:

"I appreciate him (the mayor) sending his condolences.  My main concern is looking for justice for my son."

Tamir's family will hold a press conference Tuesday morning at 11; we will carry that for you right here on FOX8.com.

In December, Rice’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the officers of excessive force, assault and battery.

Watch an extended portion of the press conference below:

More stories on Tamir Rice here.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:06 pm

Mayor Frank Jackson says the city answered the family’s complaint on Friday. He says the document phrased things in a way that were insensitive to the family and the victim.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:07 pm

Jackson’s says the law department will file an amended version of the city’s response to the family’s lawsuit.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:10 pm

Mayor Jackson: “We recognized that in this case it was inappropriate… That’s why we are here to apologize for something that was not intended to happened.” Adds the language caused a certain degree of hurt to the family of Tamir Rice and the community as a whole.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:14 pm

Law director Barbara Langhenry reads from the city’s response. There were 20 points.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:14 pm

Jackson says he decided to apologize when he found out about the language.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:17 pm

Jackson: “My sole concern is the fact that we did something like the law director said that is hurtful to the family, that is disrespectful to them and the victim.”

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:19 pm

Jackson: “We don’t want to be in the mode of demonization” of the victim.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:21 pm

Langhenry: “We will assert all available defenses.” If the city does not mention the defenses in the court documents, then they cannot use them later, Langhenry says. That’s the reasoning behind the strong language in the complaint.

Jen Steer March 2, 20154:23 pm

“There is no way that a 12-year-old should die,” Jackson said. On the lawsuit: “Today is about apologizing to the family that we have caused some hurt, some harm to.”