The Cuyahoga County Probate Court approved a $6 million settlement in a wrongful death case where a 12-year old boy was killed by Cleveland Police. In November 2014, officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmbeck responded to a call reporting that a man with a gun was outside a local recreation center. Tamir Rice was confronted by officers who shot him after he refused to drop the weapon. The weapon in the boy's possession ended up being an airsoft pellet gun.
Details of the Event
The prosecutor in the case referred to this as a “perfect storm of human error, mistakes, and communications by all involved”. Prosecutor McGinty found the evidence didn't show any criminal conduct by law enforcement. Tamir Rice was described as looking older than 12-years old--standing 5' 7” and 170 lbs. He was reaching for his toy gun at the time of the shooting. The grand jury felt that it was reasonable to think that the officer found Rice to be a legitimate danger. In the heat of the moment, the officers were unable to tell that the gun was not real. Coincidentally, in the same small park area, there is a memorial for two officers that were killed there in the line of duty.
Judge Anthony Russo stated during the hearing that the settlement was fair and equitable. The judge acknowledged that no amount can fully compensate the family for the loss. He deemed this to be civil justice in an amount that is consistent with compensatory damages that are reasonable for the situation. The city of Cleveland will be paying half of the $3 million this year and the remainder in 2017. This settlement arrangement required approval from a judge because the deceased was only 12 years old and didn't have a will. Roughly $3.3 million of the settlement will be dispersed among Rice's family, which includes his mother, father, and several siblings.
Damages in Wrongful Death of a Minor in Colorado
Colorado law addresses who can bring suit for damages in wrongful death suits with a deceased minor. The father and mother can file for damages in cases with a minor who is not married and without descendants. Each living parent may receive a 50% share of a settlement. If the parents are divorced, separated, etc., one may file a motion asking the court to allocate fairly any damages awarded. They may consider each parent's involvement with the child such as custody and child support, and can award percentages at their discretion.
Losing a loved one in a tragic accident is difficult to cope with. If the death occurred as a result of the actions of another party, you may have a legal right for financial compensation under civil wrongful death laws. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has the experience necessary to assist Colorado victims in their pursuit of justice. Call the office today to review your case.