Officer Timothy Loehmann, who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, has been fired. The Cleveland Police Department announced that Loehmann was terminated due to inaccurate details on his job application and other administrative policy violations, not for killing Rice.
Loehmann “should never have been a police officer in the first place — but he should have been fired for shooting my son in less than one second, not just for lying on his application,” said Sabrina Rice, Tamir’s mother, in a statement, according to ABC News.
“As we continue to grieve for Tamir, I hope this is a call for all of us to build stronger communities together.” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters that the department started looking through officers’ work histories in 2015, after Loehmann joined the force. While Loehmann’s firing is being credited to his job application, many connect it to his fatal use of force against Tamir when he mistook a toy gun for a real one.
Officer Frank Garmback, who with Loehmann at the Cudell Recreation Center that day, also faced disciplinary action. However, his 10-day suspension is connected to the shooting and will come with additional training. Neither Loehmann or Garmback faced any criminal charges for the shooting as a grand jury declined to indict them.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association released a statement criticizing the decision to seek disciplinary action against the pair of officers, claiming it was “imposed merely to appease segments of this community who have demanded their heads.”
“The employment application of no other employee of the city of Cleveland has ever been scrutinized as carefully as Officer Loehmann’s, and even that scrutiny was unable to find any alleged errors or mistakes that are not easily justifiable,” the association said.
“Four independent law enforcement agencies previously cleared them of any criminal wrongdoing, as well as the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and grand jury,” it continued. “There is simply no factual basis on which an unbiased decision-maker could conclude that either officer should be administratively disciplined.”