• Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

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Ex-Cleveland officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice is hired by Pennsylvania borough

Timothy Loehmann, the former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, was hired as an officer in a small Pennsylvania borough.

Tamir Rice
Tamir Rice.Family Photo

Steve Hazlett, the president of the Tioga Borough Council, announced Loehmann’s hiring on Tuesday, posting a Facebook picture of the officer being sworn in. The photo sparked some fury on the social media platform.

“This doesn’t look good for you David Wilcox I’m not rocking with this decision,” one person wrote in a comment to the borough’s mayor.

Another person wrote that Loehmann should not be hired as an officer in any state. “If barred from 1 state that should be the end of his profession,” the person commented.

Wilcox and the Borough Council did not immediately respond to phone calls and emails on Thursday. Loehmann could not be reached at phone numbers listed for him.

Wilcox addressed the backlash on Facebook.

“This has nothing to do with me. Council hires, fires and background checks. I literally wasn’t even allowed to take his resume with me the day they interviewed him,” he posted.

The mayor also shared a video from a council meeting where a council member pronounced Loehmann’s last name as “Lochmann.” Wilcox posted the clip so residents “understand who I thought Borough Council was hiring,” he wrote.

Samaria Rice
Samaria Rice speaks in Cleveland on Nov. 9, 2021, during a rally for her son Tamir Rice, who was killed by police. Ken Blaze / AP file

Wilcox told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette that Loehmann was interviewed about a month ago and he sat in on the interview but did not have the candidate’s resume.

“The police committee, which the president of council and vice president of council, assured after going through the candidates and meeting again, assured everyone on council and myself they had did a thorough background check and that he checked out, was a great person, didn’t have any marks on his record and that we should hire him to try out on a 90-day probationary period,” he said.

The council unanimously voted to hire Loehmann as an officer in the borough of roughly 700 people.

Loehmann was fired by the Cleveland Police Department in May 2017, about three years after he shot and killed Rice, who is Black, outside the Cudell Recreation Center. Police were responding to a call about someone pointing a gun at people, although the caller told the dispatcher that the gun looked fake. That information was never relayed to Loehmann or his partner, Frank Garmback.

Video footage of the fatal November 2014 encounter showed Loehmann, who is white, firing at Rice within seconds of getting out of his squad car. Rice died a day after the shooting.

The Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to charge Loehmann, and the Justice Department did not file federal charges against him.

Loehmann’s firing from the Cleveland Police Department was not related to Rice’s death. The department said it let the officer go because he had lied on his job application and failed to disclose that he had been dismissed from the Independence Police Department in Ohio after they had deemed him unfit to serve.

The officer went on to land a job at the Bellaire Police Department in Ohio in 2018 but backed out of the part-time position following backlash.

In the years since the shooting, Rice’s mother has fought against Loehmann’s re-hiring, writing in an amicus brief filed last year in the Ohio Supreme Court that he is “unfit to serve as a police officer, in Cleveland — or anywhere else.”

The Rice family could not immediately be reached for comment.