City drops claim for Tamir Rice's ambulance ride; cops shot the boy while he played with toy gun
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is apologizing for the city’s attempt to collect $500 for an ambulance ride from the estate of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy shot by police while he played with a toy gun in a city park.
Jackson spoke at a news conference on Thursday, report Cleveland.com and the New York Times. “It was mistake in terms of us not flagging it, but it was not a mistake in terms of the legal process,” Jackson said.
The city will pick up the cost of medical care provided to Rice that isn’t covered by Medicaid, Jackson said.
According to Jackson, Medicaid paid $173 for the ambulance and Cleveland paid the remaining $327. At that point, the city closed the account. But the city reopened the account and filed a claim with the estate when the executor asked about ambulance bills. The city reported the ambulance bill because of its obligation under Medicaid policies, Jackson said.
A lawyer representing the Tamir Rice family in a civil suit against the city, Subodh Chandra, questioned that explanation in an email to Cleveland.com. “If the city accepts Medicaid reimbursement, there is no additional amount owed,” Chandra said. “That’s the basic principle of insurance and Medicaid/Medicare law. They can’t hold their hand out for more.”
In December, a grand jury declined to indict police officers in Rice’s November 2014 death. Prosecutors said they didn’t recommend charges because officers had a reasonable belief the toy gun was real.