CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland has agreed to a request from the Smithsonian’s new African-American history museum to delay the demolition of a gazebo where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot to death by police.
City officials decided Monday to hold off on demolition for 30 days.
Workers expected to begin dismantling the structure this week. It became a makeshift memorial after Rice’s death in 2014, which became part of a national outcry over fatal confrontations between black people and white police officers. Rice, who was black, was playing with a pellet gun when a white rookie patrolman, responding to a call about a man waving a gun, fatally shot him.
The museum, scheduled to open this fall in Washington, “is in talks with Black Lives Matter concerning options for preserving the gazebo, given its importance to African-American history,” its senior history curator, William Pretzer, said in an email to a city official.
Cleveland Law Director Barbara Langhenry said the gazebo could end up at the museum being built on the National Mall or in a museum in Ohio, Cleveland.com reported.
“I am particularly interested in knowing who will pay the cost of removing and relocating the gazebo, when it would be removed, where it would go, and how it would be used,” she wrote.
Subodh Chandra, an attorney for Rice’s family, said the boy’s mother supported the demolition plan but would also support the relocation of the gazebo and displaying it in a museum exhibit.
“When she heard about this proposal, she understood the historic importance of (the gazebo) and was supportive of the concept if the museum is interested in acquiring it and will handle the matter in a tasteful and appropriate way,” Chandra said.
The city reached a $6 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit last month over Rice’s death. The family sued the city and officers and dispatchers involved in handling the call and alleged the police acted recklessly when they confronted the boy. A grand jury declined to indict the officer who fired the fatal shot.