Timothy Loehmann, the police officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old playing with a pellet gun in a Cleveland park, withdrew his application to be a part-time officer in Bellaire, Ohio.
The police chief of Bellaire, Richard Flanagan, had reportedly hired Loehmann last week. But strong reaction from the local Black Lives Matter chapter apparently forced Loehmann to withdraw his name.
“As of this afternoon, Timothy Loehmann has withdrawn his application in Bellaire,” Rice’s mother Samaria Rice said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “Hopefully, he will not be hired as a police officer by any other state.”
Bellaire Police Chief Dick Flanagan confirmed to affiliate WTRF that Loehmann has withdrawn his application.
At 4 p.m., Samaria Rice and the Cleveland chapter of Black Lives Matter held a news conference to discuss the hiring of Timothy Loehmann. She said she learned just minutes before the news conference that Loehmann had withdrawn his application.
The Times Leader reported Bellaire’s police chief confirmed Friday he had hired Timothy Loehmann as a part-time officer.
Flanagan said Loehmann was never charged in Tamir’s death and deserves a second chance.
Bellaire is a village of about 4,000 along the Ohio River, more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) south of Cleveland.
Tamir was playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in 2014 when he was shot by Loehmann.
A grand jury declined to indict Loehmann. He was fired last year after it was discovered he was previously deemed “unfit for duty.”
Loehmann should never have been hired as a police officer in the first place. While Flanagan’s attitude that everybody deserves a second chance is admirable, when it comes to hiring an officer with such a troubled past as Loehmann has, giving him a badge and a gun would have been a crap shoot.
In January, city officials charged Loehmann for failing to provide truthful information on his employment application regarding disciplinary actions, information surrounding his departure from a previous police department and failing a test in May 2013.
Cleveland police previously confirmed to News 5 that they did not review Officer Timothy Loehmann’s personnel file with Independence police before hiring him.
Everyone understands that the nearly impossible job that police officers have puts enormous psychological strain on the men and women who serve. Better vetting by police departments of new hires across the country could prevent most officers like Flanagan from ever walking a beat.