Black Monday

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

Some things you can buy with six million dollars:

  • A replica of the White House built for a Texas governor in the 1920s who had higher ambitions but a lower skill set.
  • A season of “Game of Thrones.”
  • A Galaxy Super Yacht, though you’ll have to settle for the cheapest model.
  • A week’s supply of makeup for Kim Kardashian.
  • A twelve-year-old black boy’s life.

That’s how much money they’ve settled on the family of Tamir Rice, who was gut-shot on a playground by a Cleveland police officer who was so frightened of confrontation with a black face of any age that he leaped from his cop car gun blazing before cowering behind the car lest the boy manage to draw his toy gun with his dying breath.

The settlement spares the city from a federal civil rights trial that would have shown just how little black lives matter in Cleveland, as they do in so many places in this land of the free, where most native American black folks are descended from slaves who only counted for three-fifths of a real person. And, as the mayor of that fine city said, the payout to make up for butchering the child and his civil rights serves the higher purpose of “protect(ing) the rights of the city and its taxpayers.” How the scales of justice are freighted with coin.

I once helped bury a child not quite Tamir’s age. Six hundred million dollars couldn’t begin to dilute the grief her family felt, feels, and will feel till someone else helps bury them.

Under the terms of the settlement, Cleveland admits no wrongdoing. Nothing wrong about being the home of police who kill black boys on playgrounds.


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2 Responses to Black Monday

  1. Josh Lambrose 28 April 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    Stubbing a toe or getting into a fender bender is an unfortunate incident. This was an enormous, likely preventable, tragedy. I concur that unadmitted culpability is at least something. Personally it’s my favorite type of culpability although undoubtedly the most chicken sh#t form

  2. James Bordonaro 28 April 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    It was an unfortunate incident but the size of the settlement is a measure of unadmitted culpability by the City.

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