Timothy Loehmann, officer who killed Tamir Rice, quits days after Pennsylvania city hires him


The former Cleveland officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 resigned Thursday as the only small-town Pennsylvania police officer, two days after his swearing-in drew backlash from residents and the mayor.

Timothy Loehmann withdrew his candidacy to be an officer from Tioga, Pennsylvania on Thursday morning, according to the the city website.

Loehmann was sworn in Tuesday after a unanimous vote by the borough council, chairman of the council Steve Hazlett wrote on social media. The vote took place after the Williamsport Sun Gazette and local media were informed that the city was hiring an officer by the name of Timothy Lochmann.

A photo and caption from Hazlett on Facebook Wednesday clarified that the officer hired to represent the borough of about 700 people was Loehmann, who was fired from the Cleveland Police Department in 2017 for lying on his job application, but faced no criminal charge related to Rice’s death. Rice was carrying a pellet gun at a playground when he was shot and killed by Loehmann in November 2014, sparking nationwide protests against law enforcement’s use of lethal force against Black.

“Timothy Loehmann is your new Tioga cop,” Hazlett wrote.

The hiring drew protests and anger, including from Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, who told The Washington Post on Thursday morning before Loehmann’s resignation that the decision was “a big mistake.”

“He shouldn’t be a police officer anywhere in the United States,” she said, adding that she was furious and worried for the Tioga community. “I’m actually shocked that someone would give him a job knowing what he did to my family.”

Subodh Chandra, the attorney for Rice’s family and estate, told The Post on Thursday that he was “shocked but not surprised.”

“Timothy Loehmann showed a shameless determination to rub his conduct in the faces of Tamir Rice’s family and the rest of the world,” Chandra said. “The level of poor judgment here by Tioga Borough Council is truly unfathomable, and I hope they are held accountable.”

Tioga Borough Mayor David Wilcox said he was not told of Loehmann’s background when borough council members found the officer and agreed to hire him. Wilcox told the Cleveland Plain Dealership he didn’t get a chance to review Loehmann’s resume and that the Rice case was never brought up at any point in the process. Details surrounding Loehmann’s review process remain unclear.

“I felt like there had been a thorough background check, that he had no issues,” Wilcox told the outlet. “I thought it was strange that someone moved here from Cleveland, Ohio for $18 an hour. But I heard they wanted to get away from it all and come here to hunt and fish.

Wilcox posted a video on Facebook Thursday from a recent borough council meeting that shows a member saying he was making the motion “to hire a police officer by the name of Timothy – I still can’t pronounce that name.” He then spelled out “Lochmann,” saying the officer would be hired “provided he passes all physicals and everything accordingly,” according to the video.

“Why were we NOT told about the last name change?” writes Wilcox.

Following Loehmann’s resignation on Thursday, Wilcox took to Facebook to call on three borough council members, including Hazlett, to step down at a special meeting next week.

Neither Hazlett nor a representative from the Tioga Police Department immediately responded to requests for comment early Thursday.

Hiring news was first reported by Garrett Carr, a freelance Sun-Gazette reporter.

Loehmann’s hiring comes days after another deadly police shooting in Ohio left the state reeling. Akron police released body camera footage on Sunday showing officers firing dozens of bullets at Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old black man who left his car while fleeing a traffic stop last week. Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said he did not know the exact number of bullets fired at Walker, but said the medical examiner’s report indicated more than 60 wounds on Walker’s body. Eight officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of investigations by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Akron Police Professional Standards and Accountability Office.

Akron Police Release Video Of Officers Shooting Black Man Dozens Of Times

More than 1,040 people have been shot dead by police in the past year, according to data collected by The Washington Post. Although half of these people are white, black Americans are being slaughtered at a disproportionate rate. They make up less than 13% of the US population but are killed by police at more than double the rate of whites. Hispanics are also being killed by police at a disproportionate rate.

Loehmann’s hiring in Tioga – more than 300 miles east of Cleveland and just a few miles from New York State – is the latest example of a police officer being rehired after being fired elsewhere. A 2017 Post report found that although the nation’s largest police departments fired at least 1,881 officers for misconduct that betrayed the public trust for more than a decade, the departments were forced to reinstate more of 450 agents after the calls required by the union contracts.

On Nov. 22, 2014, two Cleveland police officers — Loehmann and Frank Garmback — came to a park in response to a 911 call about a gunman. Rice was playing with a pellet gun that officials said was indistinguishable from a regular pistol. Although the caller told the dispatcher that this person may have been a child playing with a toy, this was not passed on to officers, who treated the call as an “active shooter” situation, it said. authorities.

Seconds after police drove their patrol car onto the grass, Loehmann, a white rookie officer, shot Rice from the passenger seat of the vehicle. Loehmann later told authorities that the 12-year-old black child appeared to be looking for a gun in his belt.

After authorities in Ohio investigated the case, a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against Loehmann in December 2015. Loehmann was ultimately fired from the department for failing to disclose in his job application. that he left his previous post in Independence, Ohio, due to “an inability to function emotionally” as an officer. Garmback was suspended. The city of Cleveland agreed to pay Rice’s relatives $6 million under a civil settlement.

The Justice Department announced in late 2020 that it had officially closed its federal investigation into the police shooting of Rice. In announcing the decision to dismiss the case, the Justice Department said it conducted a “thorough review of the facts of this tragic event,” but career prosecutors in the department concluded that “the evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Loehmann willfully violated the constitutional rights of Tamir Rice. The federal investigation also examined whether the officer and his partner obstructed justice and concluded that there was nothing to pursue.

Justice Department closes investigation into Tamir Rice murder

Shortly after being fired in Cleveland, Loehmann was hired as a part-time police officer in Bellaire, Ohio. Loehmann withdrew his candidacy a few days later after officials faced backlash for hiring him.

Wilcox, the mayor of Tioga, said WEWS in Cleveland that Loehmann was one of three candidates considered for the job.

“It all came out clear that he had no bad remarks on his record at all,” he told the TV station. “That’s how it was presented to the rest of the board and myself.”

But when news broke that the officer who killed Rice in 2014 had been hired in Tioga, dozens of residents protested the move on Wednesday. A protester told the Sun-Gazette that the circumstances under which Loehmann was hired were “simply untrue”.

“I think there was a lot of misinformation and a lot of people didn’t know what they were doing,” the man told the newspaper.

Wilcox has pledged not to schedule any hours for Loehmann until there is a resolution, according to WEWS. Chandra told the Post that while he’s grateful residents and leaders are unhappy with the hiring, Loehmann resurfacing hundreds of miles away in Pennsylvania has caused “great pain to the family once again.” Rice”.

“It’s hard to imagine that the citizens of Tioga and surrounding communities will tolerate a law enforcement officer who poses such a grave risk to them,” Chandra said. “So hopefully the officials will do the right thing.”

Samaria Rice said she found out about Loehmann’s hiring days before unveiling a memorial for her son at the spot where he was shot. The officer who found work in Pennsylvania, she said, was her way of “taunting and blatantly disrespecting me to my face.”

“Timothy Loehmann just disrespects me,” she said, saying the past few years have left her “tired”. “There is no reconciliation there. As a human being and a God-fearing woman, I probably have to forgive him, but I will never forgive what he did to my family.

She added, “Timothy Loehmann is connected to Tamir Rice, and that will never change.”

Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.


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