Officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice is refused request to return to work

·2 min read
Tamir Rice was 12 when he was fatally shot by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann on 22 November, 2014.
Tamir Rice was 12 when he was fatally shot by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann on 22 November, 2014.

The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected an appeal seeking to allow Timothy Loehmann, the police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014, to return to work.

The state’s highest court rejected the appeal from the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association that sought to overturn a lower court’s ruling to keep Mr Loehmann’s firing in place after the deadly incident that sent shockwaves across the US.

Tamir had been playing with a toy pellet gun in a Cleveland park on 22 November when Mr Loehmann drove up, responding to a 911 call reporting someone brandishing a gun in a park.

Records showed that the caller had said they believed the person was “probably a juvenile” and that the gun was “probably fake”.

Within seconds of getting out of his squad car, however, Mr Loehmann fired the shots that would end Tamir’s life.

The Cleveland police officer was fired from his role two and a half years after the incident after the officer was found to have also provided “false information” when he applied to join the department.

Mr Loehmann had been offered a part-time job with another Ohio police department, but he withdrew his application within days of being hired after protesters contacted the police department to rally against the hiring.

In Monday’s decision, four of the Ohio Supreme Court’s seven justices declined to review the decision from the 8th District Court of Appeals, which said the police union had failed to serve attorneys for the city of Cleveland with court filings in its challenge against the decision to uphold Mr Loehmann’s initial firing.

“I am glad that Loehmann will never have a badge and gun in Cleveland again,” Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said in a statement to through her attorney Subodh Chandra.

In his own statement, Mr Chandra said the decision means “Loehmann’s career – such as it was – in Cleveland law enforcement is and should now be over”.

“Given his lies on his application to be an officer, that career should have never happened in the first place,” Mr Chandra said.

“The police union stained its own credibility by shamelessly advocating that it is no big deal for a sworn law-enforcement officer to lie on his job application – and by its continuing efforts to torment the Rice family and the community,” he said.

The Independent has contacted the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association for comment.

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