Northeast Ohio celebrated when Tamir Rice’s killer, Timothy Loehmann, was fired from the Cleveland Police Department in 2017. Though his termination was not for his most notorious and murderous act, at least the rookie cop, who had been deemed unfit by no less than three police departments before sliding under the CPD radar, was no longer patrolling city streets. Loehmann, who was never indicted in Rice’s death, lost his job for failing to mention the multiple departments who had rejected him when filling out his job application—because apparently that’s way worse than shooting a middle schooler to death in a two-second interaction.
At the time, Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said she was “relieved” by the news, but concerned about the long-term impact on Loehmann’s future in law enforcement.
“We still need accountability,” Rice said. “We want to make sure that he never gets re-hired again through the next process that they take.”
Sadly, that accountability never came. Bellaire, a teensy little town of not quite 4,000 on the border of West Virginia, has confirmed that Loehmann is back in the blue, wearing a badge and toting a gun on the taxpayer’s dime once again—despite killing a 12-year-old boy with his service weapon nearly four years ago. Loehmann was hired alongside another corrupt cop, Eric Smith, who is currently under investigation by the Ohio Attorney General.
Bellaire Police Chief Richard “Dick” Flanagan confirmed Friday that he hired Loehmann and Smith. He said he believes both men deserve second chances.
Flanagan said Friday he had no reservations about hiring Loehmann to work in his department.
“He was cleared of any and all wrongdoing,” Flanagan said of Loehmann. “He was never charged. It’s over and done with.”
Over and done with? Tell that to Tamir’s family.
When speaking with local press on Friday, Chief Flanagan explained how sorry people should feel for a child-killing cop who’d been rejected by multiple police departments before he killed a child.
Flanagan said he never had reservations about hiring Loehmann because he was cleared of any wrongdoing regarding Rice’s death. He said he does not believe it is fair for people to “crucify” Loehmann about what happened.
According to The Intelligencer’s Wheeling (W. Va.) News-Register, the newly-installed chief also used his time with the press to recruit even more new hires.
“I have full confidence and faith in every police officer here,” Flanagan said. “We have eight full-time officers and five part-time officers. And if anyone is looking for a part-time job, call me. All officers are on a probationary period of one year.”
The other officer involved in Tamir’s murder, Frank Garmback, was driving the car and Loehmann’s training officer that day. He’s still a member of the Cleveland Police Department, though he was initially suspended for a paltry ten days, which he fought down to an even paltrier five-day punishment. He most recently made headlines for getting a Dunkin’ Donuts employee fired for making a joke about not serving cops, that led to a slight delay in Garmback getting his iced coffee.
The family of Tamir Rice won a $6 million dollar settlement from the city of Cleveland, which absolutely did not, and will not, ever bring their beloved boy back.
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