CLEVELAND, Ohio – Tamir Rice’s mother said she was “relieved” that the rookie Cleveland police officer who fatally shot her son in 2014 was fired on Tuesday.
Samaria Rice spoke to reporters a half-hour after city officials fired officer Timothy Loehmann. She added that she wished the city also fired his partner, Frank Garmback, instead of suspending him 10 days without pay.
Loehmann was fired not for fatally shooting Tamir on Nov. 22, 2014 but for omitting previous employers on his application with the Cleveland police department.
“It does make a difference,” she said. “I wish they would have fired him for killing Tamir.”
Garmback’s discipline stems from driving Loehmann too close to Tamir, who had an airsoft pellet gun in his waistband.
The officers were told by a dispatcher that Tamir was a man with a real gun.
Rice’s attorney, Subodh Chandra, who negotiated a $6 million settlement with the city over Tamir’s death, said the city has not held anyone accountable for failing to check Loehmann’s employment record, specifically for a letter in his personnel file from the Independence Police Department that said Loehmann was unfit to be an officer.
“What we don’t see out of today is any mention of accountability for the people at the city who permitted Loehmann to become an officer to begin with,” Chandra said. “There’s absolutely not a hint of that. There’s no explanation, there’s no accountability, there’s no accounting to the public for who it is that failed to check Loehmann’s application, to check his background and do proper do diligence before entrusting this man with a badge and a gun.”
Chandra said he’s now worried that the discipline levied against them won’t withstand an appeal to an arbitrator by the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association. The police union could seek to have the firing and the suspension overturned.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said he expects the discipline to survive any appeals. CPPA president Steve Loomis said he will address the discipline at a 3 p.m. news conference.
“We still need accountability,” Rice said. “We want to make sure that he never gets re-hired again through the next process that they take.”
Rice said waiting for two-and-a-half years for the city to decide on internal discipline against Officer Timothy Loehmann and his partner Frank Garmback were “excruciating.”
Williams said the investigation dragged on because of the criminal investigation that ended with a Cuyahoga County grand jury declining to indict the officers.
“It was very overwhelming to drag this out and antagonize me and my family,” she said. “It was too long of time.”
If you’d like to comment on this story, visit Tuesday’s crime and courts comments section.
Please take a moment and click here to help the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, a cleveland.com partner. Every dollar you give buys four meals for the hungry.