12. Years. Old.


The city of Cleveland has settled a wrongful death lawsuit in the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice for $6 million, so everything is OK now we guess. Tamir was shot dead by officer Timothy Loehmann in November 2014, two seconds after Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback, stopped their police car outside a park where Tamir had been playing with a realistic-looking toy gun. As with most liability cases, the settlement did not require the city to admit wrongdoing, and a grand jury decided not to charge either Loehmann or Garmback with a crime in the shooting. The decision not to prosecute was a key factor in the defeat of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty in a March primary election, so there's that, too.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson offered his regrets again in a news conference Monday, and said the money couldn't possibly compensate for the loss of the child's life.

"This is not easy for me, personally, or for the city in general," Jackson said. "And I can't speak to how difficult it must have been for the family of Tamir Rice. I can't even speak to that, because it's hard for me to imagine how I would feel and behave at that time. ... At the end of the day, a 12-year old child lost their life, and that should not have happened in the city of Cleveland. It should not have happened."

True to form, the city's police union, the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, issued an unspeakably dickish, victim-blaming statement on the occasion of the settlement:

We're really sorry for your family, who like the two officers who had to be investigated for shooting him have suffered a great deal from this. You should take some of that money to teach kids not to play with guns. Maybe you'd like us to help with that, huh?

[wonkbar]a href="http://wonkette.com/577893/cleveland-police-union-blames-12-year-old-tamir-rice-for-being-some-kind-of-monster"[/wonkbar]For the police union's president, Steve Loomis, it was a remarkable show of restraint; in February 2015, Loomis had explained that Tamir needed to be shot because he was simply a huge monstrous kid who totally looked like a menacing thug:

“Tamir Rice is in the wrong,” he said. “He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body. Tamir looks to his left and sees a police car. He puts his gun in his waistband. Those people — 99 percent of the time those people run away from us [...]

“The guy with the gun is not running. He’s walking toward us. He’s squaring off with Cleveland police and he has a gun. Loehmann is thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s pulling it out of his waistband.’”

So for Loomis and the Cleveland police union, this latest statement suggests the sensitivity training is really paying off. He's focusing on the positive, thinking proactively about the ways families can help their kids avoid making the police shoot them to death. Education really is the answer, isn't it?

An attorney for the Rice family, Subodh Chandra, didn't give Loomis much credit for those positive intentions. In an emailed statement, Chandra said the recommendations

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 ... We're all still in trouble if Loomis's attitude reflects rank-and-file officers' attitudes.

Guess there's simply no pleasing some people. If anything, the police union statement didn't offer the most important educational advice it could have: Children and families need to learn to be white and live in the suburbs.

[Cleveland.com / Reuters / Cleveland.com again / Cleveland.com once more]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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