Date: November 22, 2014
Officer: Timothy Loehmann (shooter) and Frank
Charged: No charges filed, $6 mil settlement with Cleveland
Tamir Rice was in a park near his home in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 22, 2014, when he was playing with a toy gun a friend had recently lent him. Someone in the area called 911 to report a man pointing a pistol at people and pretending to shoot it. The caller corrects himself, saying that the pistol was probably fake and this person might be a child. The 911 dispatcher didn’t relay the message of the possibility of a toy gun and the suspect being a child to the police. Rice then walks to the gazebo and places the toy gun in his waistband. Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback roll up to the gazebo, and once Loehmann exits the car while it was still in motion, he shoots twice at Rice, who was less than ten feet away. One of the shots hit Rice in the torso, and he died the next day. He was 12 years old.
When Tamir Rice’s mother arrived at the scene, she said that police told her to calm down or else they would arrest her after learning her son was shot. She adds that her daughter was tackled and handcuffed by police as she tried to rush to her brother’s aid. The Rice family filed a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland less than two weeks after Tamir was killed. They reached a settlement of $6 million.
Officer Loehmann claims that he yelled “show me your hands” out the window at Rice while the patrol car was approaching him, rather than using the patrol car megaphone. He says that Rice was reaching for his waistband, leading him to believe Rice had a gun. Officer Garmback said he saw the gun when Loehmann opened the door. The Rice Family Attorney said the officers accounts contradict each other and didn’t make sense. He said, “Loehmann, for example, insists that he observed things and took action that would have been physically impossible for any human being to do in the under two seconds it took him to shoot a 12-year-old child.” He also adds that Loehmann’s account of yelling “show me your hands” contradicts Garmback’s belief that the windows were rolled up as they approached Rice. The officers were placed on paid administrative leave during the duration of the investigation. A grand jury declined bringing charges against Loehmann for the shooting.
Less than a month after the shooting, the Justice Department closed a nearly two year long civil rights investigation into the Cleveland Police Department. They said they found a pattern of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force.” The report adds that the police saw themselves as an “occupying force instead of a true partner and resource in the community it serves.”
After an investigation into Loehmann’s past, a suburban Cleveland police department revealed that they had issues with Loehmann after he entered the force from the police academy. They were going to fire him after deeming him as too emotionally unstable and unfit for duty, but Loehmann resigned before they were able to do so. Supervisors said he had a “lack of maturity” and an “inability to perform basic functions as instructed” during a weapons training course. Loehmann didn’t disclose this information to the Cleveland Police Department when he applied, leading them to believe he left the department due to personal reasons.
Berman, M., & Lowery, W. (2016, April 25). Cleveland agrees to pay $6 million to settle Tamir Rice lawsuit, won't admit any wrongdoing. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/04/25/cleveland-agrees-to-pay-6-million-to-settle-tamir-rice-lawsuit/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cb31cdf349db
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