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Dispatcher's negligence leading to death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice results in "unacceptable" and "pathetic" 8-day suspension

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cleveland, OH — "Unacceptable." That is how Samaria Rice, the bereaved mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, described the mere eight-day suspension Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams gave Constance Hollinger, a police dispatcher, for Hollinger's negligence resulting in Tamir's death from a police shooting on November 22, 2014.

Subodh Chandra, Ms. Rice's Cleveland-based counsel, added, "Eight days for gross negligence resulting in the death of a 12-year-old boy. How pathetic is that?"

Hollinger was charged administratively for having failed to convey a 9/11 caller's information that Tamir was "probably a juvenile" and that his toy gun was "probably a fake."

Williams conducted a closed-door hearing on February 22, 2017 to which Samaria Rice was not invited and in which she thus had no voice. With no apparent sense of irony or self-awareness, Chief Williams wrote in boilerplate at the bottom of his suspension letter: "It is the Division's earnest desire that this letter will serve as a deterrent against future acts of this nature."

The letter further states that the discipline letter will only be in Hollinger's file for two years.

Chandra added, "Fat chance of this absurd discipline deterring anyone from anything other than continued incompetence and indifference. That the dispatcher still has her job when a child is dead speaks volumes about accountability in Cleveland."

"If this is the best that that system can offer, then the system is broken."

Related Practice Areas
Constitutional LawPolice Misconduct & BrutalityWrongful DeathRace Discrimination

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