Tamir Rice’s family files wrongful death suit against Cleveland police officers

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Tamir Rice (Family photo)

CLEVELAND- The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer, has filed a wrongful death suit.

A man called 911 on Nov. 22 to report a man with a gun at the Cudell Recreation Center. Officers arrived at the scene and shot Rice, who died the next day. Police later said boy’s gun was airsoft.

The attorney for Rice’s family said the wrongful death lawsuit was filed on Friday in the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio. The suit, which said police “confronted him in a surprise fashion, names the city of Cleveland and the two officers involved.

“Tamir was playing alone in the park. He was not endangering anyone. He was not violent,” the lawsuit stated. The suit accused the officers of excessive force, and assault and battery. It also called Rice’s gun a toy, adding “Young boys playing with replica guns are commonplace in America.” (Read the court documents here)

Cleveland police officials said Officer Frank Garmback, 46, was driving the cruiser while Officer Timothy Loehmann, 26, fired the shots.

Officer Loehmann’s personnel file from his previous employer, the Independence Police Department, said he did not show the maturity at their department. The letter stressed his “dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage personal stress.”

Rice’s death was addressed briefly during U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Thursday news conference in Cleveland. Holder mentioned other national cases of police use of force, while calling for reforms within the Cleveland Division of Police.