The mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was killed by an ex-Cleveland police officer in 2014, wants to have a chat with the rural police department that is hiring the cop who fired the fatal shot.
Samaria Rice tells Mic that she has plans to travel to Bellaire, Ohio, a village on the West Virginia border, now that she’s learned that Timothy Loehmann has a new job there.
“I plan to go down to Bellaire to have a conversation with that police department and say, ‘You guys are making a big mistake,’ ” Rice said.
Bellaire police Chief Richard Flanagan announced Friday that he’d hired Loehmann, who was never indicted in the death of Tamir Rice. The boy’s death set off protests in the Cleveland area and grabbed attention nationwide. Police responded to reports of a man with a weapon, but Tamir was holding a toy gun. Surveillance video showed that Loehmann and fellow police Officer Frank Garmback watched Tamir bleed to death on the ground and also tackled and handcuffed Tajai Rice, Tamir’s sister, as she rushed to her brother’s aid.
The Cleveland Police Department eventually fired Loehmann in 2017, but for reasons outside of the Tamir Rice case.
LaTonya Goldsby, the head of Cleveland’s Black Lives Matter and also Tamir Rice’s cousin, tells Mic that the city’s activist community is asking any and all to contact the Bellaire Police Department to ask that Loehmann’s job offer be rescinded.
“Police unions, police chiefs and police departments will always side with police,” Goldsby said. “We gave to stay vigilant in our communities and others so that police officers like Timothy Loehmann don’t continue to get employment in other cities after they have committed murder in another.”
Bellaire police Chief Richard Flanagan told The Times Leader that he is aware of Loehmann’s past but that he deserves a second chance and was never indicted in the Tamir Rice case.
Samaria Rice tells Mic she believes Loehmann is “emotionally and mentally unstable.”
After the Rice shooting, Cleveland police learned Leohmann was forced to resign from a previous job with the police department in Independence, Ohio, after being declared unfit to work in law enforcement, Mic reports.
Mic cites a 2012 police memo indicating Loehmann had an “emotional breakdown” during a firearms exam.
Loehmann does not respond in the Mic piece. His father, Fred Loehmann, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he left the Independence post because he did not like the slow pace of life there.