Hours after the city of Cleveland announced a $6 million settlement in the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the head of the local police union said some of that money should go towards educating children about guns.
Cleveland Police Patrolman Association President Steve Loomis issued a statement on Monday afternoon saying that “something positive must come from this tragic loss.”
“We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” Loomis said in the statement.
Rice, who was black, was fatally shot by a white police officer while playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in 2014. The toy gun was missing the orange tip intended to signal that it was fake.
In December, a grand jury declined to indict Timothy Loehmann, the officer involved in the shooting, characterizing Rice’s death as a tragic mistake.
Loomis echoed that framing in his statement, calling the incident “an absolute tragedy for the Rice family as well as our involved Officers and their families.”
The police union president has stoked controversy with his comments about the case before.
Shortly after Rice’s death, Loomis told Politico, “Tamir Rice is in the wrong. He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body.”
The city of Cleveland admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, although Mayor Frank Jackson said at a Monday news conference that the shooting “should not have happened.”
The Rice family’s attorney, Subodh Chandra, said “the resolution is nothing to celebrate because a 12-year-old child needlessly lost his life.”
Read Loomis’ full statement below via Cleveland.com: