Cleveland Fires Police Officer Who Shot Tamir Rice

CLEVELAND (CN) — The Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice outside a Cleveland recreation center was fired Tuesday — not for killing the boy, but for lying on his job application.

Timothy Loehmann was fired Tuesday morning, two and a half years after he killed Tamir, on Nov. 22, 2014.

The Cleveland Division of Police also suspended Loehmann’s supervising officer, Frank Garmback, for 10 days, for violating police guidelines on use of force, by driving up to a person reported to have a weapon.

Loehmann was fired for providing false information on his application to be a patrol officer, the police department said in a statement.

“The independent investigation conducted by the Office of Quality Control into Patrol Officer Loehmann’s statements made regarding employment history on his application, found that Patrol Officer Loehmann was not truthful in statements made in his personal history statement,” according to the statement from the Cleveland Division of Police.

“Chief Calvin D. Williams determined that this violation rose to the level of termination.”

Loehmann’s professional history was scrutinized after the release of a surveillance video that showed him shoot Rice in the stomach less than 2 seconds after his supervising officer, Garmback, pulled their patrol car to a stop in the park where Tamir had been playing alone with a realistic-looking Airsoft gun.

Garmback and Loehmann were responding to a 911 call about a black male with a gun.

The caller told the 911 operator that the person with the gun was “probably a juvenile” and the gun was “probably fake,” but that information was not relayed to Garmback and Loehmann.

Former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty advised a grand jury not to pursue criminal charges against Loehmann and Garmback after a lengthy investigation led him to conclude that Loehmann and Garmback’s actions were reasonable based on the information they were given at the time.

The grand jury’s decision not to indict Loehmann and Garmback prompted five straight days of peaceful protests in Cleveland.

Once it was determined that Loehmann and Garmback would not face criminal charges, Police Chief Williams ordered the formation of a Critical Incident Review Committee to determine if the officers had violated any internal rules.

It was determined that Loehmann had omitted facts surrounding his resignation from the Independence (Ohio) Police Department on his employment application.

Loehmann claimed he had “resigned for personal reasons.”

The truth was that the Independence Police Department had resolved to terminate him for insubordination and emotional instability, but allowed him to resign instead.

Those employment application omissions were the only reason that the Cleveland Division of Police offered as justification for Loehmann’s termination on Tuesday.

Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, who has settled a civil lawsuit against the city and the police department for $6 million, said she was pleased with Loehmann’s termination, but also disheartened.

“I am relieved Loehmann has been fired, because he never should 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,” Samaria Rice said in a statement.

She also expressed dismay at the mere 10-day suspension for Garmback.

The president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, on the other hand, vowed to appeal the discipline handed to Loehmann and Garmback.

“Four independent law enforcement agencies previously cleared them of any criminal wrongdoing, as well as the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and Grand Jury. There is simply no factual basis on which an unbiased decision-maker could conclude that either Officer should be administratively disciplined,” CPPA President Steve Loomis in a statement.

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