Less than a day after the city of Cleveland filed a claim against the family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed by police, for hundreds of dollars over unpaid “emergency medical services” officials say it was a miscommunication and are withdrawing it.
The claim, filed by the city Wednesday, alleges the family owed $500 for an EMS bill rendered as Tamir Rice’s “last dying expense.”
On Thursday, Mayor Frank G. Jackson apologized to the family during a news conference.
“It was a mistake in terms of us flagging it, but not a mistake in terms of the legal process,” Jackson told reporters.
Finance Director Sharon Dumas said the city has not and does not intend to the Tamir Rice estate. She said routine legal procedure led to the $500 EMS billing charge submitted by the city.
“We have made the determination to withdraw that claim from the probate cour,” she told reporter. “We all sincerely apologize to the Tamir Rice family for any additional pain or suffering that this may have caused today.”
WATCH: Surveillance video shows Cleveland police tackle Tamir Rice’s sister
Earlier, an attorney representing the family had called the legal tactic breathtakingly insensitive.
“The Rice family is disturbed by the city’s behavior,” Subodh Chandra said in a statement to Global News. “The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill—its own police officers having slain 12-year-old Tamir—is breathtaking. This adds insult to homicide. The Rice family considers this a form of harassment.”
According to the claim, the $500 is for $450 in ambulance services and $50 for “mileage”.
On Nov. 22, 2014, Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot the 12-year-old within seconds of arriving at a local park. Police had received a report of a juvenile carrying a weapon but that it was “probably fake” according to the 911 caller.
Video of the shooting showed Tamir Rice playing in the snow with a pellet gun before sitting at a bench. A police car rapidly pulls up near a gazebo in the park, and two officers get out, and one of them shoots Tamir within two seconds.
FULL COVERAGE: Tamir Rice shooting
According to a Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department report Loehmann and the other responding officer did not check Rice’s vital signs or perform first aid in the minutes after he was shot. They did, however, physically restrain the boy’s sister as she attempted to rush to his aid.
News of the claim came just two months after a grand jury declined to indict the two officers in the case, meaning the officers will not face criminal charges.
The killing of Tamir Rice also came at a time of widespread criticism of police-involved killings of African Americans across the U.S.
A federal review of the case is currently ongoing, and the Rice family has filed a wrongful death suit against the city of Cleveland.