The city of Cleveland’s defense to a lawsuit over the death of Tamir Rice outraged the 12-year-old’s family, prompted a protest and brought Mayor Frank Jackson close to tears, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The mayor promised to remove “insensitive” language, but he didn’t say that the defense of blaming Tamir for his own shooting death at the hands of police officer Timothy Loehmann lacked merit, or that it would not be used. Experts said that was the correct hing to do, even if it comes off as offensive.
“As far as I’m concerned, as long as there’s a good faith basis for asserting a defense, it should be asserted,” said Nick Subashi, a Dayton lawyer. Among the 20 defenses cited by the city was that the 12-year-old’s shooting death was caused “by the failure…to exercise due care to avoid injury.” Walter Madison, an attorney representing Rice’s family, said the response “has placed a new standard on our children,” forcing them to handle all situations — and to be responsible — like adults should be. “I challenge anyone to show me a place where we heap adult-like responsibility on 12-year-old children,” he said.