There is absolutely no reason for the Cleveland police union to have issued a statement today in the wake of the announcement that the city of Cleveland and family of Tamir Rice had agreed to a $6 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit of the 12-year-old. Zero.
But it turns out Steve Loomis and the Cleveland police union couldn't resist another chance to blame Tamir Rice for his own death.
A statement released to the media (yes, the letter is addressed to "media") notes that Loomis wants the Rice family (and the lawyers) to donate a portion of the settlement to charity to educate children on the dangers of both real and fake guns.
There's merit to education on the topic in general — Loomis made a push to get media coverage on the similarities between real and fake weapons last year
— but A) today was not the day to fire up the conversation again, and B) his fellow officer who pumped bullets into Tamir could use the training first, and C) demanding the Rice family use the city's death money to pay for said education is indefensible and offensive.
"Anyone who has ever wondered whether 'tone deafness' is a real thing need look no further than the police union's leadership," says Subodh Chandra, one of the Rice family's lawyers, in response. "Reflecting in a few breaths all that is wrong with Cleveland's police division, Loomis managed to (1) blame the victim, (2) equate the loss of life of a 12-year-old child with officers facing public scrutiny for killing that child, and (3) demand money from the victim's family. Loomis's comments suggest that his union still doesn't comprehend that Cleveland's police division needs a complete cultural transformation: from not hiring incompetents, to better training, to vastly greater accountability. If Loomis's attitude truly reflects rank-and-file officers' attitudes, then we Clevelanders are all still in deep trouble."
BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner pretty much sums it all up here.
*Updated to include comment from Subodh Chandra.