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Cleveland Apologizes To Family Of Tamir Rice For $500 Ambulance Bill

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A court document appeared online yesterday that has led to an apology by the mayor of Cleveland. It was a $500 court claim against the estate of Tamir Rice. He's the 12-year-old boy who was killed in a police shooting in 2014. The document was first published by Cleveland's SCENE Magazine. Brian Bull from member station WCPN has more.

BRIAN BULL, BYLINE: The claim was for emergency medical services performed after Rice was shot by a local police officer. News spread of the document last night and Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra responded.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SUBODH CHANDRA: 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.

BULL: Today, people at the park where Rice was shot were talking about the controversy including Mauri Carnill (ph).

MAURI CARNILL: Knowing that that's someone's child they lost and they still have to come out they pockets and pay medical bills and things like that, that's kind of messed up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

FRANK JACKSON: We'll start off apologizing to the Rice family if in fact this has added to any grief or pain that they may have.

BULL: That's Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. Jackson said the filing in probate court was in response to a records request made by the executor of the Rice estate.

JACKSON: No bill was ever sent to the Rice family and no bill was intended to go to the Rice family.

BULL: The mayor said it was a routine process that, all the same, needed to be red-flagged and withdrawn rather than included in court documents.

MIKE BENZA: It doesn't appear, however, that the city did this until after the administrator asked them to generate the bill.

BULL: Mike Benza's a law professor at Case Western Reserve University.

BENZA: I don't see that you can say for sure this was a attempt to cause further injury or to embarrass the family or any of those other things.

BULL: Following today's press conference by the city, the Rice family attorney issued a statement describing the entire incident as, quote, "deeply disturbing." For NPR News, I'm Brian Bull in Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.