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 Flanagan said he believes that Loehmann, who was a trainee at the time of the shooting, deserves a second chance.
Loehmann fatally shot Rice in November 2014 after he and his partner, Frank Garmback, were called to a Cleveland recreation center. They had received a report that a person with a gun was outside, but the 911 dispatcher did not tell the officers that the caller had said the gun was “probably fake” and that its owner was most likely a juvenile.
Released security footage from outside the recreation center showed Loehmann and Garmback’s police cruiser skidding to a halt near Rice. Loehmann opened the car door and began firing at Rice within seconds. After the shooting Loehmann realized that Rice was 12 and was playing with a plastic pellet gun.
A grand jury declined in 2015 to indict both officers in Rice’s death. Loehmann was fired from the police department in May 2017, after working on desk duty pending an administrative review since the 2014 shooting.
Both Rice’s shooting and the lack of prosecutorial action against Loehmann prompted national outrage and protests over police use of force and racial bias in the criminal justice system.
Rice’s family attorney, Subodh Chandra, condemned Loehmann’s hiring in a tweet. She said Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, believes “Loehmann doesn’t belong on any police force anywhere & shouldn’t be foisted upon the citizenry anywhere.”