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Cleveland Police Union Continues Campaign to Reinstate Ex-Cop Who Fatally Shot Tamir Rice, Takes Case to Ohio Supreme Court

An Cleveland police union is continuing its campaign to reinstate the ex-police officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice in 2014 after a 911 call about the 12-year-old playing with a toy pistol in a Cleveland park.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA), the union representing Cleveland police officers, filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of Timothy Loehmann on Friday, April 23. This comes as the union suffered a setback last month in an appeals court in its attempt to reverse Loehmann’s firing. A panel of three judges upheld the former officer’s termination, stating that the union did not correctly file court records with attorneys for the city of Cleveland on time.

Timothy Loehmann
Officer Timothy Loehmann (left) and his partner were cleared of any wrongdoing in Tamir Rice’s death. (Images courtesy of Twitter/Colorlines)

Loehmann was fired from the Cleveland force in May 2017, not for killing Rice — who was shot within two seconds of Loehmann and his partner pulling up next to the park gazebo where the boy was sitting alone — but because when an internal review panel investigated the Rice case they discovered that Loehmann had lied or omitted critical information on his personal history statement in his application to the Cleveland department.

The officer wrote on his application that he left the Independence Police Department in suburban Cleveland for “personal reasons.” It emerged in the investigation that the Independence department declared Loehmann to be unfit, with “an inability to emotionally function.” He was offered the option to resign instead of being fired. 

In 2018, Loehmann withdrew his application to become a part-time officer with Ohio’s Bellaire Police Department. At the time, Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, reacted to the news by saying, “Hopefully, he will not be hired as a police officer by any other state.”

Bellaire Police Chief Richard Flanagan confirmed Loehmann had backed out of the gig less than a week after the chief announced he felt the disgraced cop deserved “a second chance.”

“He was cleared of any and all wrongdoing,” Flanagan told The Times Leader of Loehmann’s role in the fatal 2014 shooting. “He was never charged. It’s over and done with.”

Loehmann’s latest maneuver to be reinstated comes just a week after attorneys for Samaria Rice penned a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting that the Department of Justice reopen its investigation into her son’s death. 

“It is vital for DOJ to establish that those who enforce our laws are subject to our laws,” Rice’s attorney’s stated. “This case involves the unjustified killing of a child and a prosecution that was thwarted through political abuse. Fortunately, it is not too late to correct this manifest injustice.”

In 2016, the city of Cleveland agreed to pay Rice’s family $6 million without admission of wrongdoing.

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