CLEVELAND—The ACLU of Ohio issued the following statement regarding a settlement in the shooting death of Tamir Rice by Cleveland police. The city of Cleveland has agreed to pay the Rice family $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
“Settlements are no substitute for the reforms so desperately needed in Cleveland,” said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio. “Until we see major reforms at all levels of the criminal justice system, people in Cleveland and across the country will continue to watch this same story unfold again and again.”
The wrongful death settlement comes several months after a grand jury declined to indict the officers responsible for the November 2014 shooting of 12 year-old Tamir Rice. Not including the Rice settlement, the city of Cleveland paid more than $8 million to resolve lawsuits regarding police brutality and rights violations over the past decade.
“Money alone cannot provide justice in the tragic death of this child,” Link said. “The web of laws and practices that prevent accountability for police misconduct needs to be taken apart and replaced with concrete solutions to eliminate racial bias in the justice system. Merely paying for police misconduct without addressing the deeper issues will allow this behavior to continue year after year.”
“Officers need specific training on interacting with youth and people in crisis. Cities must devote the necessary space and resources to develop meaningful links between police and community members. Police departments need to collect data on race for traffic stops, searches and use of force. Implicit racial bias must be acknowledged and actively confronted. These reforms are larger than any individual officers, prosecutors, or elected officials, but will require all of them to forge a just and constitutional system.”