Amended lawsuit filed in police shooting of Cleveland boy

AP News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2015 7:40 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — An amended wrongful death lawsuit over a Cleveland policeman's fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy includes claims related to his parents and sister and references to other use-of-force cases.

Tamir Rice had a pellet gun when he was confronted by police responding to a call about someone with a firearm near a recreation center on Nov. 22.

The attorneys now representing his family filed the updated federal lawsuit Friday against the city, the officer who shot Tamir, another officer and unnamed emergency dispatchers.

The complaint alleges excessive force, negligence, infliction of emotional distress on his sister and mother, violation of due process for the parents, and failure by the responding officers to provide first aid to the boy immediately after the shooting. He died the next day.

It also claims false imprisonment of Tamir's 14-year-old sister, who ran toward the scene after the shooting, struggled with police and was handcuffed and put into a cruiser parked near her wounded brother.

The city doesn't comment on such pending litigation, Cleveland spokesman Dan Williams said.

Patrol officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir in the abdomen within two seconds of a patrol car stopping near the boy, and the confrontation was captured on surveillance video. It shows Tamir in a park carrying what turned out to be an airsoft-type gun that shoots non-lethal plastic pellets.

The person who called 911 with the initial report told a dispatcher that the apparent weapon was probably fake and that the subject was probably a juvenile, but the police union has said that information wasn't relayed to the responding officers. Police say the weapon appeared to be real.

In the amended lawsuit, the family questions whether the rookie officer who fired at Tamir had first sufficiently ordered him to raise his hands and drop the weapon. The surveillance video doesn't clarify that issue because it doesn't include audio.

The Cuyahoga County sheriff's department is investigating the shooting. A prosecutor has promised that a grand jury will consider whether criminal charges are merited.