The city of Cleveland will pay a settlement of roughly $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was killed by a police officer in November 2014 while playing outside at a park with a replica gun. Rice’s death became a flashpoint in the debate over how police officers perceive and treat young black males while on the job; criminal proceedings against the two officers involved in the incident ended in December when a grand jury, acting on a recommendation from now-former district attorney Tim McGinty, declined to file charges against them.
Monday’s settlement is the result of a wrongful death lawsuit filed in civil court by the Rice family, alleging that Rice’s death occurred because of reckless actions taken by Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. The two officers drove their police cruiser to within a few feet of Rice while responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun; they have been criticized by legal experts for not trying to resolve the situation from a distance before confronting what they perceived as a threat.
Loehmann, who fired the shots that killed Rice, has testified that he was compelled to use deadly force because he thought Rice was reaching for a firearm when Garmback, who was driving the cruiser, pulled up to him.
District Judge Dan Polster wrote in a statement that Monday’s settlement does not include any admission of wrongdoing.
Other high-profile settlements stemming from police killings include $6.4 million paid to the family of Freddie Gray, who died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police last year; $6.5 million paid to the family of Walter Scott, who was killed in South Carolina a week earlier; and $5.9 million paid to the family of Eric Garner, who was choked to death on Staten Island in July 2014.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the cost of resolving civil suits over police misconduct have soared in recent years. In a story last year, the paper reported that the 10 cities in America with the largest police departments paid nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in police misconduct settlements and court judgments in 2014—up by 48 percent from 2010.