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02/10/2016 10:28 pm ET Updated Feb 11, 2016

Cleveland Mayor Apologizes To Tamir Rice's Family For Ambulance Bill

The family called the incident "deeply disturbing."
The family of Tamir Rice was asked to pay for medical services he received when he was shot by police.
Tony Dejak/Associated Press
The family of Tamir Rice was asked to pay for medical services he received when he was shot by police.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson issued an apology to the family of Tamir Rice on Thursday for the city's decision to send a $500 bill for life support and ambulance services that the 12-year-old received after he was fatally wounded by a police officer in 2014. 

Mayor Frank Johnson said the bill was a "routine" claim whose special circumstances had simply been overlooked. The city has said it never billed the family for the full medical services and that the claim for a past-due balance would be withdrawn.

"It was a mistake of us not flagging it, but it was not a mistake in terms of the legal process," Johnson said during a press conference.

Rice's family didn't appear to be satisfied with the apology, calling the incident and the mayor's response "deeply disturbing" in a statement provided to NBC.

When they initially received the bill, the family had said they were startled by the "insensitivity" of the claim, and a statement emailed to Mashable from the family's attorney said it reflected "poor judgement" on behalf of the city.

"The Rice family is disturbed by the city's behavior," the statement read. "The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill after its own police officers killed 12-year-old Tamir is breathtaking. This adds insult to homicide."

Rice's death launched protests and demonstrations after he was killed by a rookie police officer who'd heard on a broadcast that the boy had a gun. The officer, Timothy Loehmann, said he had yelled "show me your hands" to Rice, but surveillance video indicated that the officer fired shots within two seconds of leaving his vehicle. The gun Rice had been playing with was, in fact, a toy.

In December, a grand jury declined to indict Loehmann and a senior officer, Frank Garmback, in the shooting of Rice. At the time, the boy's family accused prosecutor Timothy McGinty of "abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment."

His mother, Samaria Rice, condemned the decision earlier this year, saying she was "mad as hell."

"Due to the corrupt system, I have a dead child. I felt as if breath has been taken out of my body once again," she said during an interview on MSNBC.

Take a look at the entire claim below.

 
 

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