The 2014 shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice prompted severe outrage when it was discovered that a police officer shot Tamir, who was only holding a toy gun. A year after the shooting, the frustration continued when there was no indictment for the officer responsible. The case, much like the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, appeared to be a situation where the unjust death of a young Black life would result in no consequence.
Although there was no punishment for those involved in Tamir’s death, it was announced Monday that the city of Cleveland will pay the family $6 million as part of a settlement. However, it should be known that the city has not admitted fault in his death, as they were charged for in the suit. This is a payout to the family to resolve the dispute.
Before the settlement was reached, the city had been continuously arguing that Tamir was at fault (although they later apologized for their disrespectful wording). Not too long ago, the family of Freddie Gray was awarded $6.4 million in a settlement, even though criminal charges for the officers are still pending, after several pushed court dates.
It appears that some find a multi-million-dollar settlement is a suitable Band-Aid to heal the wounds and calm the storms that result after the wrongful killing of unarmed Black people. The settlements seem to be a way to say, “Oh, we’re not going to punish our own, but here’s some money. Now, we good?” It should be known that no, we aren’t good. We will not be good until there is justice in the form of indictments and jail time for the people actually responsible for these terrible acts. Sure, money can always help, but when it’s used to distract from the root of the issues, it's insult to injury.
(Photo: Bob Ramsak/Demotix/Corbis)