Nearly two-and-a-half years after he killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun, Timothy Loehmann lost his job as a Cleveland Police Department officer today (May 30). But he wasn’t fired for the fatal shooting.
UPDATE on officer-involved shooting https://t.co/9plh45RnbU
— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) May 30, 2017
Cleveland’s public safety director Michael McGrath announced during a press conference this morning (above) that the city fired Loehmann for lying on his police department job application. Cleveland.com adds that Loehmann did not disclose the circumstances behind his resignation from the nearby Independence Police Department—specifically, how it found him unfit for duty following a mental breakdown at a gun range. Independence’s deputy police chief Jim Polak wrote in Loehmann’s review that "he would not be able to substantially cope, or make good decisions, during or resulting from any other stressful situation." Loehmann also did not reveal that he failed a 2009 written exam for nearby Maple Heights Police Department.
Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback, was found guilty of rules violations related to Rice’s killing, including not informing the police dispatcher when they arrived at the recreation center where the boy was playing, and using unspecified improper tactics on the drive there. McGrath said that Garmback received a 10-day unpaid suspension and will have to undergo additional tactical training. Garmback drove the squad car close to Rice, and Loehmann killed the boy seconds after their arrival on the scene.
The indictments against Loehmann and Garmback stem from charges issued by McGrath’s department in January, which CleveScene.com unveiled at the time by publishing the two officers’ charging documents. They represent both men’s most serious punishments, coming 17 months after a county grand jury decided not to indict them for Rice’s killing.
Local channel ABC News 5 reported in March that the city previously disciplined two other involved individuals: 911 operator Constance Hollinger received an eight-day unpaid suspension for not telling dispatcher Beth Mandl that the person who initially called 911 said Rice’s gun was likely fake, and officer William Cunningham was suspended for two days for working at the rec center off-duty and without approval. Cleveland.com previously reported that Cunningham, while working security at the rec center, helped Garmback restrain Rice’s then-14-year-old sister Tajai when she tried to assist her brother after the shooting. Cunningham also suggested the officers handcuff Tajai and put her in the back of a police cruiser.
Rice’s mother Samaria Rice criticized the city’s response in a press conference today, captured (below) by local outlet WKYC-TV. "They fired him for lying on his application, [when] I wish they would’ve fired him for killing Tamir," she said. "He should have never been an officer in the first place, and shame on the city of Cleveland for taking so long to deal with this situation."