The city of Cleveland is backtracking after filing a claim against the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old who died at the hands of a Cleveland Police Department officer in November 2014.
On February 10, the city filed a claim in probate court, seeking $500 in payments for life support services and ambulance mileage. It was a move that sparked outrage from Rice’s family and many corners of the world, with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeting that “asking Tamir’s family to pay for his ambulance is heartless.”
Now, local station WKYC reports that mayor Frank Jackson has apologized for the filing. “[I] apologize to the Rice family if this has added to any grief or pain they may have had.... There was never a bill sent to the Rice family. There was never any intent to send a bill.”
WKYC relays the city’s explanation of the situation:
The city received partial payment of $500 from Medicaid. It closed the case and wrote off the remainder as a loss.
Then the lawyer representing Tamir’s estate asked the city so [sic] send him the bill for ambulance services.
That triggered an automatic filing in probate court. By law, the city is obligated to help Medicaid recover money spent from other sources.
The city says it will withdraw the claim.