Samaria Rice, Lawyers, Respond to City's Insensitivity

Samaria Rice, her attorneys and religious leaders spoke at a press conference Tuesday, expressing their dismay that the city of Cleveland argued that Tamir Rice was responsible for his own death.

The press conference was delayed nearly an hour to accommodate the local media who, for whatever reason, were covering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks to Congress.

Mayor Frank Jackson, for his part, apologized Monday in his own press conference for what he called "poor use of words and insensitivity" in the city's response to the wrongful death lawsuit brought by lawyers of the Rice family.  

Though Samaria Rice herself spoke only briefly, she said that she has not yet received a formal, personal apology. 

"The city's answer was very disrespectful to my son, Tamir," Rice said. "I have not yet received an apology from the police department or the City of Cleveland in regards to the killing of my son. And it hurts."

Attorney Walter Madison clarified later that there was a huge difference between apologizing for the wording in a legal filing and apologizing for the death of a child.

Still, Madison, said, the Rice family is willing to let the Sheriff's Department and its investigators "earn their faith."

"We're not going to interfere," he said.

But attorney Benjamin Crump stressed that the response thus far has been alarming and disrespectful. He showed the video of Tamir Rice's death at the Cudell Rec Center once again, and amended earlier elapsed-time estimates, saying that officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir only one second after the police cruiser came to a stop. 

In response to a question about the continued press conferences and whether or not the Rice lawyers were attempting to try the case in public (as opposed to the courts), Crump responded that the goal was merely to be as transparent as possible. He said that — up until now — across the country, officers aren't being held accountable. 

Walter Madison said that Samaria Rice was not a malicious person and would accept apologies "in whatever vein they are intended" but that in order for her to accept the Mayor's apology for the killing of her son, it would have to come with concrete action.  
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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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