Timothy Loehmann, the former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, resigned from a Pennsylvania police station after his appointment sparked outrage, his attorney said.
Steve Hazlett, the chairman of the Tioga Borough Council in Pennsylvania, announced Loehmann’s hiring on Tuesday and posted a Facebook photo of the sworn officer. The photo, which was removed on Thursday, sparked some anger on the social media platform.
“This doesn’t look good for you, David Wilcox, I’m happy for this decision,” one person wrote in a response to the mayor of the city.
Another person wrote that Loehmann should not be hired as an officer in any state. “If he is banned from 1 state, that should be the end of his profession,” the person noted.
Wilcox and the Borough Council did not immediately respond to phone calls and emails on Thursday. Loehmann could not be reached on the telephone numbers listed for him.
Loehmann’s attorney, Henry Hilow, said his client quit because of the resistance because he doesn’t want to be a distraction.
Wilcox had discussed the fallout on Facebook.
“This has nothing to do with me. City hiring, layoffs and background checks. I was literally not allowed to take his resume with me the day they interviewed him,” he wrote.
Wilcox also shared a video of a council meeting where a councilor pronounced Loehmann’s last name as “Lochmann.” Wilcox posted the clip so residents “understand who I thought Borough Council was hiring,” he wrote.
Wilcox told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette that Loehmann was interviewed about a month ago and that he attended the interview but did not have the candidate’s resume.
“The Police Commission, who assured the Board Chair and the Vice Chair of the Board, after they reviewed the candidates and reconvened, assured everyone on the Board and myself that they had done a thorough background check and that he had checked out, was a great person. you know, he had no points on his record and that we had to hire him to try it out with a 90 day trial,” he said.
The council voted unanimously to hire Loehmann as an officer in the ward of about 700 people.
However, Hilow said the mayor was not caught off guard by the hiring and that he was fully aware of Loehmann’s background.
Cleveland police fired Loehmann in May 2017, about three years after he shot and killed Tamir, who was black, outside the Cudell Recreation Center. Police responded to a call that someone was pointing a gun at people, although the caller told the dispatcher that the gun looked fake. That information was never passed on to Loehmann or his partner, Frank Garmback.
Video of the deadly encounter in November 2014 shows Loehmann, who is white, firing at Tamir within seconds of getting out of his police car. Tamir died a day after the shooting.
The Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to indict Loehmann, and the Justice Department did not file federal charges against him.
Loehmann’s discharge from the Cleveland Police Department had nothing to do with Tamir’s death. The department said it let him go because he lied on his application and failed to disclose that the Ohio Department of Independence had fired him after it deemed him unfit to serve.
He got a job with the Bellaire Police Department in Ohio in 2018, but withdrew from the part-time position after backlash.
Hilow said Loehmann is trying to move on from what happened, calling him a “good guy” who has “become a lightning rod wherever he goes.”
“Tim [is] hoping this will all go away… but apparently it won’t,” Hilow said.
In the years since the shooting, Tamir’s mother has fought Loehmann’s new hire, writing in an amicus brief filed with the Ohio Supreme Court last year that he is “unfit to serve as a police officer in Cleveland — or anywhere else for that matter.” .”
She wondered why Tioga Borough would hire him.
“The system is broken and it’s breaking down all the time,” Samaria Rice told Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC. “And now when you talk about police reform, I have some doubts there. Because how do you reform the police when you put police officers back as police officers in different states… different provinces? I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that that’s right.’