“Timothy Loehmann should have never been a police officer in the first place”
It’s been two years since Timothy Loehmann, a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
At the time of his death, Rice was playing at a neighborhood playground. According to Loehmann, Rice was holding what appeared to be a weapon, which later turned out to be a toy pellet gun.
Since that day, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said an “exhaustive” investigation has taken place. On Tuesday, it all came to an end when Loehmann was fired and the officer who was driving the patrol car alongside Loehmann was suspended for 10 days. That officer, Frank Garmback, will also be required to take additional training before he can come back to work, The New York Times reported.
“This has been tough on our entire community, and definitely on the Rice family,” Calvin Williams, Cleveland’s police chief, told the Times. “When this happened in 2014, I made the comment that this is, of course, a tragedy, but it’s even more tragic that it happened at the hands of a Cleveland police officer.”
And while this may seem to be a fair and just outcome, not all is what it seems. In fact, Loehmann’s termination had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he shot and killed a 12-year-old black child as he played on a playground. Instead, he was fired for lying on his police force application in 2013.
Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, told the Times that her entire family was was relieved by the termination, but was appalled by the length of time it took to get to that decision. “Shame on the city of Cleveland for taking so long to render a decision like this,” she said. “Timothy Loehmann should have never been a police officer in the first place.”
As ABC reported, the Loehmann failed to report on his Cleveland Police Department job application that a suburban department had allowed him to resign rather than be fired at the end of a six-month probationary period. According to an an evaluation by that department, Loehmann had demonstrated “dismal” handgun performance. It even noted that he was emotionally immature and even broke down in tears at the gun range.
Since the incident, Williams told the The Atlantic, that his department has learned from its mistakes. He added, “I think our officers have learned that there are best approaches to incidents and with the training that they are receiving, to bolster the training they’ve had in the past, hopefully we won’t have any more incidents like this.”