CLEVELAND (UPI) — The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice should use the $6 million settlement with the city of Cleveland to educate children on the use of look-alike firearms, the head of the city’s police union said Monday.
Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Patrolman’s Association, issued a news release that said, “we can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.
“Something positive must come from this tragic loss. That would be educating youth of the dangers of possessing a real or replica firearm,” the release continues.
The release ended: “We look forward to the possibility of working with the Rice family to achieve this common goal.”
The release came hours after the announcement Monday that the city had reached a settlement with the family of Tamir Rice. The settlement releases the city and officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, who were involved in killing, from all claims.
Loehmann shot Tamir Rice outside a recreation center. He and Garmback had responded to reports of a “guy” with a gun in the park. Both said they saw Tamir reaching into his waistband to grab a gun when Loehmann opened fire.
Tamir had an airsoft pistol with the orange safety tip removed. Neither officer was criminally charged.
Loomis has said police often cannot tell the difference between real and fake firearms.
Subodh Chandra, an attorney representing the Rice family, blasted Loomis’ release in a statement. The comments “reflect all that is wrong with Cleveland’s police division — he managed to (1) blame the victim, (2) equate the loss of the life of a 12-year-old child with the officers facing scrutiny, and (3) demand money from the victim’s family and counsel.
“Loomis’s continued posturing shows he and the union still don’t comprehend that the police division needs a cultural change — not hiring incompetents, better training, and greater accountability,” Chandra continues. “We’re all still in trouble if Loomis’s attitude reflects rank-and-file officers’ attitudes.”
The settlement is is believed to be the largest ever in a Cleveland wrongful death lawsuit involving police.
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