CLEVELAND, Dec 5 (Reuters) – The family of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was fatally shot by police filed a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against the city and the police officers involved.
Tamir Rice was shot last month while carrying what turned out to be a replica gun that typically fires plastic pellets. The shooting came at a time of heightened national scrutiny of police use of force, especially against African-Americans.
The suit names both Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Rice on Nov. 22 less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside the boy at a park, and Frank Garmback, who was driving the car.
The suit said that the officers confronted Rice, “in a surprise fashion and fired multiple shots at him without any adequate investigation.” The suit said that Rice lay on the ground alive for four minutes without medical care.
The suit, which seeks both “fair compensation” and an end to violence by Cleveland police against unarmed residents, described Rice as an African American sixth grader who loved basketball and “enjoyed life.”
Representatives for the City of Cleveland were not immediately available for comment on the lawsuit. Both officers are on leave and the incident is being investigated.
The lawsuit comes a day after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Cleveland Police systematically engages in excessive use of force against civilians. (Reporting by Kim Palmer; Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Sandra Maler)