The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old holding a replica gun in November was deemed unsuited for police service two years ago, newly released documents show.
Timothy Loehmann, now 26, was employed by the City of Independence Police Department in Independence, Ohio, for six months in 2012, the Guardian reports. In an internal memo from that November, Independence Deputy Chief Jim Polak criticized Loehmann’s behavior during a firearms training.
"He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal," the memo, available in full at Cleveland.com, states.
According to the report, Loehmann became “distracted and weepy,” in part because of an issue with a girlfriend and uncertainty about his future. Polak criticized Loehmann for being “not mature enough in his accepting of responsibility or his understanding in the severity of his loss of control on the range,” and concluded the report with recommending that Loehmann be “released” from his position.
The memo also cites several previous issues, including Loehmann removing a bulletproof vest at the wrong time because he felt too warm.
"I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct the deficiencies,” Polak wrote.
Loehmann quit the force days after Polak’s memo was sent out, citing “personal reasons.” His personnel file classified him as “eligible for rehire,” WOIO reports.
He was hired by the City of Cleveland in March 2014. It’s unclear whether or not Cleveland officials ever saw the memo before he was hired.
Surveillance video of Loehmann fatally shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice was released last month. Loehmann was responding to a 911 call about someone pointing a gun at people at a Cleveland park. Rice was actually just carrying an airsoft gun, which shoots non-lethal plastic pellets.
The caller said the gun was “probably fake,” but police say the dispatcher did not relay that detail to them, according to the Washington Post.
In the video, Loehmann can be seen firing at Rice within two seconds of pulling up in his cruiser. The 12-year-old died of his injuries the next day.
Loehmann, as well as his patrol partner, 46-year-old Frank Garmback, are on paid administrative leave pending a decision on whether to pursue criminal charges.