US & Canada

US city regrets blaming Tamir Rice for own shooting death

Tamir Rice Image copyright AP
Image caption Tamir Rice was shot in the abdomen by a police officer in November

The mayor of Cleveland has apologised for language in recent court documents that blamed a 12-year-old for his own death.

City lawyers suggested in court documents that the boy, who had a pellet gun when he was shot by police, was responsible for his own death.

Mayor Frank Jackson said wording in the documents filed late last week was insensitive and poorly worded.

Tamir Rice was shot by police in November near a recreation centre.

The apologies stems from wording in a documents filed by the city in response to a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of Tamir Rice's family.

The documents said Tamir's injuries were a result of his failure "to exercise due care to avoid injury".

Mr Jackson said the city plans to alter the wording in the documents within the next three weeks.

"We used words and we phrased things in such a way that was very insensitive," the mayor said.

He said that the new language, however, would not undermine the city's defence against the lawsuit.

The black boy's death on 22 November was caught on CCTV video and fuelled a national debate over police use of deadly force - especially in dealing with black men.

He was shot by a junior police officer while waving a replica firearm near a recreation centre. The pellet gun lacked the orange safety cap that designates lethal firearms from non-lethal ones.

Tamir's mother is expected to address the apology in a news conference later on Tuesday.

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