The 2014 murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by officer Timothy Loehmann sparked nationwide outrage and was one of the many killings of unarmed Black men and children that helped push the Black Lives Matter movement into the national spotlight. Though the Cleveland police officer in question was never indicted for the shooting he was eventually fired three whole years later.
Now the The Times Leader is reporting that Timothy Leohmann has been rehired as a part-time police officer at a small village in Ohio, Bellaire. When reached for comment about the hiring, Bellaire Police Chief Richard “Dick” Flanagan said he believed Leohmann deserved a second chance at his job given he was never charged with anything.
“He was cleared of any and all wrongdoing,”Flanagan said of Loehmann. “He was never charged. It’s over and done with.”
For those who aren’t familiar with the situation, Tamir Rice was a Black 12-year-old who had the police called on him after “concerned” neighbors spotted him playing with an airsoft gun that didn’t have the orange tip to show it was a toy. Loehman and his partner Eric Smith responded to the call and seconds after arriving on the scene Loehman shot and killed the pre-teen.
While we agree that people deserve second chances sometimes those people aren’t fit for the job they screwed up, period. An Independence Deputy indicated that such was the case with Timmy Loehmann.
According to published reports, Independence Deputy Chief Jim Polak wrote in Loehmann’s personnel file that he was “weepy” and “distracted” during firearms training. He allegedly told Polak that he was having trouble with his girlfriend at the time. But the deputy went further in his statements about Loehmann’s competence.
“He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal,” Polak wrote in 2012.
Polak recommended that Loehmann should leave the department.
“I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct the deficiencies,” Polak wrote.
He also said Loehmann lacked “maturity” to continue working for the Independence department, published reports indicate.
According to a 2010 census the population of Bellaire, OH is a little more than 4,200 people with 91.9% Caucasian and 5.5% African-American. In other words the villagers will more than likely not care about the baggage that said officer will be bringing with him to their town. SMH.
Photo: Rice Family Handout