Cleveland mayor apologizes for Tamir Rice ambulance claim

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Cleveland Mayor Claims No Bill Was Ever Sent To Tamir Rice's Family

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The city of Cleveland apologized on Thursday for its role in preparing a $500 ambulance services claim against the estate of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by police in November 2014, and said it was withdrawing the demand.

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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the city gave the claim to the estate's executor out of legal obligation because he asked for it. A lawyer for the Rice family said the executor had made a routine public records request that should not have generated such a claim.

City officials said they did not and never intended to send a bill to the Rice family. "Again, apologizing to the Rice family if in fact this has added to any grief or pain that they may have," Jackson told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

Rice, a black child who was playing with a replica gun in a park, was shot by a white police officer. The child's death helped fuel the national debate over police use of deadly force, especially against minorities.

After the Rice killing, a U.S. Justice Department investigation found widespread excessive use of force by Cleveland police. The next day, the Rice family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and officers involved.

See photos from the case:

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Cleveland mayor apologizes for Tamir Rice ambulance claim
This undated photo provided by the family's attorney shows Tamir Rice. Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after brandishing what turned out to be a replica gun, triggering an investigation into his death and a legislator's call for such weapons to be brightly colored or bear special markings. (AP Photo/Courtesy Richardson & Kucharski Co., L.P.A.)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Kids with Tamir Rice signs. Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march demanding accountability on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Stop Mass Incarceration Network co-founder Carl Dix with sign. Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march demanding accountability on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
FILE - This is a Nov. 28, 2015 file photo of a combination of still images taken from a surveillance video and released Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, that shows Cleveland police officers arriving at Cudell Park on a report of a man with a gun. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland police, Nov. 22, 2014, after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. A decision on whether to charge two white officers in the death of Tamir Rice, one of the higher-profile cases of black deaths at the hands of officers that have roiled cities nationwide, could come any day. The grand jury making the decision has been meeting since mid-October. (Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office via AP, File)
This still image taken from a surveillance video played at a news conference held by Cleveland Police, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, shows Cleveland police officers arriving at Cudell Park on a report of a man with a gun. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
This fake handgun taken from 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by Cleveland police over the weekend, is displayed after a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. The 12-year-old was shot at a city park after he reportedly pulled the Colt 1911 replica on arriving officers. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
Samaria Rice, center, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, watches the video of Tamir's shooting during a news-conference Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Cleveland. Attorney Benjamin Crump, left, and attorneys Walter Madison, right, watch. Rice and her attorneys talked about the city's response to the lawsuit, a day after Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson apologized for wording in a court document in which the city said the boy died as a result of his own actions. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - In this March 3, 2015 file photo, Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, talks about the family's lawsuit against the city in Cleveland. âI have not yet received an apology from the police department or the city of Cleveland in regards to the killing of my son,â she said. âAnd it hurts.â (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: Cory Webb, 24, raises a sign on the corner of E. Roadway as demonstrators protest police violence December 20, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: An unidentified woman raises a sign to protest police violence December 20, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors from Ferguson travelled to Cleveland to rally against the shooting of 12-year old Tamir Rice. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: Demonstrators march on Euclid Ave. in the Playhouse Square district December 21, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors gathered to voice opposition to the shooting death of 12-year old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: Demonstrators march on E. 9th Street December 21, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. For the second straight day protestors gathered in downtown Cleveland to voice opposition to excessive use of police force. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: Rev. Al Sharpton (C) leads the 'Justice For All' march in the nation's capital with the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo and other unarmed black men who were killed by police, December 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. Organized Sharpton's National Action Network, this march and other like it across the country aim to tell Congress and the country that demonstrators will not stand down until there is systemic change, accountability and justice in cases of police misconduct. Sharpton said the demonstration is happening in Washington 'because all over the country we all need to come together and demand this Congress deal with the issues, that we need laws to protect the citizens in these states from these state grand jurors.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Samaria Rice, center, speaks about the investigation into the death of her son Tamir Rice, at a news conference with attorneys Walter Madison, left, and Benjamin Crump in Cleveland, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. A Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 22, 2014, as he played with a toy gun outside a recreation center. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Samaria Rice, of Cleveland, Ohio, touches her hand to her face during an interview at The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in New York. A Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 22 as he played with a toy gun outside a recreation center. Rice says her son was never given a chance to follow officers' orders, but she believes the family "will have justice." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Surveillance video released by police shows Tamir Rice being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping within a few feet of him at a park on Nov. 22. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Attorney Benjamin Crump, left, answers questions during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Samaria Rice, second from right, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, listens. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. Tamir Rice was confronted Nov. 22 when officers responded to a 911 call about someone with a gun near a playground. Surveillance video shows him being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping nearby. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Samaria Rice, center, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - This file photo from Dec. 8, 2014, shows Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, as she speaks during a news conference in Cleveland. Leonard Warner, right, Tamir's father, listens. A decision on whether to charge two white officers in the death of Tamir Rice, one of the higher-profile cases of black deaths at the hands of officers that have roiled cities nationwide, could come any day. The grand jury making the decision has been meeting since mid-October. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
CORRECTS THE ID OF THE MALE ON POSTER TO TAMIR RICE - Tomiko Shine holds up a picture of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy fatally shot on Nov. 22 by a rookie police officer, during a protest in response to a grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo. to not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Protesters across the U.S. have walked off their jobs or away from classes in support of the Ferguson protesters. Rice's death has also sparked community demonstrations against police shootings. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Cleveland police deputy chief Ed Tomba answers questions at a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, after the release of the surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. Listening are Chief Calvin Williams, left, and Mayor Frank Johnson, second from left. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba, second from right, shows surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba, right, shows surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators lay down in Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters block cars on the freeway Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Demonstrators block the Memorial Shoreway in Cleveland, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators surround a car on Memorial Shoreway in Cleveland. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. The protestors blocked both lanes of the highway for about an hour during the evening rush. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators block Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters block cars on the freeway Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
File - In this Nov. 25, 2014 file photo, police arrest a demonstrator protesting against the shooting of 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland. The revelation that Cleveland police officials didn't review the checkered history of a police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy highlights what some describe as an unnerving truth about policing -- there's no universal standard for how deeply a department should dig into its recruits' pasts. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, file)
Police arrest a demonstrator during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice at Public Square in Cleveland Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators gather to protest the shooting of Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Angeli Delcerro places a large stuffed toy at the makeshift memorial for Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators march to protest the shooting of Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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Jackson said the ambulance expense should never have arisen but that the city was just following normal procedure. "Should it have happened? No," he said, "because red flags should have been risen. But that didn't happen. Did anybody do anything wrong in this? No, because it's the normal process."

The invoice, dated Wednesday, is for Rice's "last dying expense" and includes $450 for an ambulance and $50 for mileage, according to city documents.

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The claim had yet to be filed with Cuyahoga County probate court, court officials said on Thursday.

"This was a deeply disturbing incident," Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra said in a statement. He said the claim made no sense to the family. "This adds insult to homicide."

Rice was shot by police officer Timothy Loehmann, who was responding to a report of a person with a gun in a park. Rice died the next day.

A grand jury in December declined to bring criminal charges against white officers Loehmann and Frank Garmback.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted: "AskingTamir's family to pay for his ambulance is heartless. Cleveland should drop this fee."

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Bill Trott and Matthew Lewis)

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