Cleveland mayor apologizes for Tamir Rice ambulance claim

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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Tamir Rice, 12-year-old boy shot by Cleveland police
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Cleveland mayor apologizes for Tamir Rice ambulance claim
Jun 9, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tadar Muhammad (right) and Jeremy Brustein (left) demonstrate in support of Tamir Rice outside of Quicken Loans Arena prior to game three of the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
A police officer (L) is seen pointing his weapon during an incident involving the shooting of a 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014. Tamir E. Rice was shot by a patrol officer on Saturday after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Cleveland Police Department/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
A boy holds a sign in support as Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year old boy who was fatally shot by police last month while carrying what turned out to be a replica toy gun, speaks during a news conference at the Olivet Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio December 8, 2014. The mother of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police last month broke her silence on Monday, saying the officers involved should be criminally convicted. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)
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)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: (L-R) Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo; Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Samaira Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice; Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown Jr; Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner; and Rev. Al Sharpton address the 'Justice For All' march and rally in the nation's capital December 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. Organized by Sharpton's National Action Network, this march and others 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)
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)
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)
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)
A mourner looks at a program during the funeral service for Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio December 3, 2014. Rice had an Airsoft-type replica gun that resembles a semiautomatic pistol and was fatally shot by a patrol officer after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY)
Steve Dore screams in protest of the Cleveland Police while pointing to a tattoo on his head memorializing Tamir Rice near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Samaria Rice (C) leaves the funeral services of her son Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio December 3, 2014. Rice had an Airsoft-type replica gun that resembles a semiautomatic pistol and was fatally shot by a patrol officer after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year old boy who was fatally shot by police last month while carrying what turned out to be a replica toy gun, speaks during a news conference at the Olivet Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio December 8, 2014. The mother of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police last month broke her silence on Monday, saying the officers involved should be criminally convicted. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)
Tamir E. Rice, 12, is seen allegedly pointing a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014. Rice was shot by a patrol officer on Saturday after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people. REUTERS/Cleveland Police Department/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
People hold a banner as they take part in a protest against the police in Washington Square in Manhattan, New York, December 28, 2015 after a grand jury cleared two Cleveland police officers on Monday in the November 2014 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Rice was brandishing a toy gun in a park, and a prosecutor said there were a series of mistakes but no criminal activity. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 29: Members of the Cleveland Police Department form a roadblock on E. 9th St. on December 29, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors took to the street the day after a grand jury declined to indict Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann for the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 29: Katy Kostenko (Holding sign), a 19-year old resident of Cleveland, marches with other activists on St Clair Ave. on December 29, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors took to the street the day after a grand jury declined to indict Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann for the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
Demarcus Scott, one of the leaders for the activist group CBUS which is also a part of the Black Lives Matter movement is seen giving an interview in the Attorney Generals office in Columbus, Ohio December, 30, 2015. A list of demands was read to Stephen Schumaker the Deputy Attorney General for Law Enforcement one of which was for Attorney General Mike DeWine to give a statement that the killing of Tamir Rice was unjust after a local Grand Jury decided not to press criminal charges against the patrolman who shot and killed the young boy in November, 2014. The Attorney General would not give the statement over the phone, and agreed to meet with the activist group at a later date. (Photo by Seth Herald/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 26: An unidentified woman protests the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 26. Rice was shot by a Cleveland Police Officer responding to a 911 call about a child waving a gun, discovered to be a toy after the shooting, outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland's near west side. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Mourners covered a park table at the Cudell Commons Park with stuffed animals, prayer candles, and letters for 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. Rice died the previous weekend after being shot by a Cleveland police officer responding to a 911 call about a 'male threatening people with a gun.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Mourners covered a park table at the Cudell Commons Park with stuffed animals, prayer candles, and letters for 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. Rice died the previous weekend after being shot by a Cleveland police officer responding to a 911 call about a 'male threatening people with a gun.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
A man displays a sign during a rally at Cudell Commons Park in Cleveland, Ohio, November 24, 2014 where Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy was shot by police on November 23. Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams on Monday defended the conduct of the officer who fatally shot the 12-year-old who was wielding a replica handgun. Tamir Rice died in hospital early Sunday after two police officers, responding to a 911 emergency call, confronted the African-American youngster at a recreation center. The incident came as Americans awaited a grand jury's decision on whether to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb of Ferguson for the fatal shooting in August of black teenager Michael Brown. AFP PHOTO JORDAN GONZALEZ (Photo credit should read JORDAN GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Mourners covered a park table at the Cudell Commons Park with stuffed animals, prayer candles, and letters for 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. Rice died the previous weekend after being shot by a Cleveland police officer responding to a 911 call about a 'male threatening people with a gun.' (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Protesters gather outside of City Hall to protest the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 26. Rice was shot by a Cleveland Police Officer responding to a 911 call about a child waving a gun, discovered to be a toy after the shooting, outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland's near west side. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Justice for Tamir sign held aloft. 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)
A mourner reads the obituary from the program during the funeral service for Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio December 3, 2014. Rice had an Airsoft-type replica gun that resembles a semiautomatic pistol and was fatally shot by a patrol officer after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW OBITUARY)
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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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