Nearly five years after 12-year old Tamir Rice was killed by an officer in a public Cleveland park, the police union involved are looking to vindicate the officer who fired the fatal shots into the unarmed boy.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA) filed an appeal last week to overturn the firing of former officer Timothy Loehmann, contesting that he was fired for an issue non-related to the shooting.
In 2017, Loehmann was fired when it came to light that he had resigned from a previous department after six months when several supervisors determined he was unfit to be a police officer. That information was not disclosed on his application with the Cleveland Police Department, which an arbitrator determined was a lie and upheld the city’s decision to fire the disgraced officer in last year.
Loehmann had only been with Cleveland PD for eight months when he shot the unarmed 12-year old in 2014, who was playing in a park with an Airsoft pellet gun. A resident called 9-1-1 believing the gun may have been real. Loehmann and his partner Officer Frank Garmback responded to the call. Video of the incident caused widespread outrage because Rice was shot within seconds of Loehmann and Garmback’s arrival. The police cruiser was still moving when Loehmann jumped out and shot Rice on the spot.
Garmback was merely suspended and Loehmann was cleared from any charges in the shooting. Another police department in Ohio hired Loehmann last year. Bellaire Police Chief Richard Flanagan said at the time that he hired Loehmann because he believes “he deserves a second chance. He was cleared of any and all wrongdoing. He was never charged. It’s over and done with.”