Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson apologized to Tamir Rice's family Thursday, after the city filed a $500 claim against them for a "last dying expense:" driving him to the hospital in an ambulance.
The 12-year-old boy was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer in November 2014 while he was playing with a toy gun at a park. His death sparked widespread protests, but a grand jury declined to file criminal charges.
Paramedics responded shortly after the shooting, and Rice was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died hours after going into surgery.
According to court documents filed Wednesday, Cleveland sought $450 for the advanced life support Rice received while in the ambulance, plus $50 to cover mileage.
The claim was made in probate court under a state law covering debt collection of those who have died.
"No bill was ever sent to the Rice family and no bill was intended to go to the Rice family...that account will be closed," Jackson told reporters Thursday, attributing the claim to routine legal proceedings. Officials said that the executor of the Rice estate requested for outstanding charges from the city, which is part of the executor's job.
"A copy of what is owed has been sent to the estate, because they asked for it," Jackson said. "If the estate had not asked for it, we would not be sitting here today."
He said that the city had closed and absorbed the amount of medical bills not covered by Medicaid, WKYC reported.
In a statement Wednesday, attorneys for Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, said the family is disturbed by the new claim.
"The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill after its own police officers killed a 12-year-old child is breathtaking. This adds insult to homicide. Ms. Rice considers this harassment."
Read the creditor's claim here.
Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
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