The former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice as the 12-year-old played with an airsoft pellet gun in 2014 has a new job with another police department.
Timothy Loehmann, who shot Rice after responding to 911 calls about a “guy with a gun,” has been hired as a part-time officer by the village of Bellaire, in southeastern Ohio, West Virginia’s The Intelligencer reported.
Bellaire Police Chief Richard “Dick” Flanagan said he believes that Loehmann, who was a trainee at the time of the shooting, deserves a second chance.
“He was cleared of any and all wrongdoing,” Flanagan told The Intelligencer of Loehmann. “He was never charged. It’s over and done with.”
Loehmann isn’t Bellaire’s only controversial recent hire. The department brought on Eric Smith, a suspended police chief from Bethesda, Ohio, who is under investigation by the Ohio attorney general’s office for alleged misuse of a statewide computer system.
Though Loehmann was not indicted by a grand jury for Rice’s killing, he was fired following the shooting, not for the shooting itself but for lying about his poor job history as an officer.
Before joining Cleveland’s police force, Loehmann was forced to resign from his short stint with the Independence, Ohio, department after he was deemed unfit to be a police officer.
“I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct the deficiencies,” Independence Deputy Chief Jim Polak stated of Loehmann in a letter at the time.
Loehmann also failed an exam given by the Maple Heights Police Department in Ohio in 2009, which he failed to disclose to Cleveland’s police department, Cleveland.com reported.
During the investigation into Rice’s death, both Loehmann and his partner claimed they repeatedly yelled at the boy to “show me your hands” before Loehmann opened fire. Surveillance video, however, showed Loehmann shooting Rice within two seconds of exiting his patrol vehicle.
Attorney Subodh Chandra, who represented Rice’s family in a federal wrongful-death and civil-rights lawsuit, said his mother, Samaria Rice, remains unwavering in her belief that Loehmann “doesn’t belong on any police force anywhere,” he said on Twitter on Friday.