UPDATE: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said during a Thursday news conference that the claim was the result of a miscommunication and apologized to the Rice family.
The city of Cleveland couldn't bring itself to indict the police officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun in a park. But they know where to send the bill for his medical expenses.
The city filed a $500 claim against Rice's estate in probate court Wednesday in an attempt to recover medical expenses from the boy's death.
The creditor claim asks the court to recognize Rice's estate owes the city $450 for ambulance services and another $50 for "mileage," presumably the cost of fuel in transporting Rice's body.
Under Ohio law, the administrator or executor of a person's estate is responsible for paying "expenses of the last sickness of the decedent," and someone in the city's legal department thought it would be a good idea to invoke that law and go after the Rice family for the unpaid bill.
A spokesperson for the city of Cleveland said it would not comment on ongoing litigation.
Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra told local TV station Fox 8 that the claim amounted to harassment.
"The Rice family is disturbed by the city's behavior. The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill after its own police officers killed 12-year-old Tamir is breathtaking," Chandra told Fox 8.
In a rare moment of congruity, Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis agreed with Chandra.
"Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now. It is unconscionable that the City of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family," Loomis said to Fox 8.
Keep in mind Loomis is the same person who described Rice as "menacing," "a 12-year-old in an adult body," and blamed the child for his own death. That was also the city of Cleveland's official response to a lawsuit filed by the Rice family, so maybe we shouldn't be too surprised by the claim.