Henry Hilow, a lawyer representing Loehmann, told CNN his client had resigned from the Tioga Borough Police Department over a conflict between Wilcox and the city council. According to Tioga City Council chairman Steve Hazlett, Loehmann was sworn in by Wilcox earlier that same week.
Both the mayor and the council were aware of Loehmann’s background, Hilow said, a topic they raised during his interview. But where the council continued to support Loehmann’s appointment to the police, Wilcox did not, Hilow said.
Loehmann felt the dispute would not allow him to do his job to the best of his ability, so he resigned, Hilow said.
“He didn’t want to be a distraction for people,” he added. “The situation was discussed, as were other questions about his qualifications to serve the community. There was no cheating by Mr. Loehmann in any way.”
CNN has contacted Wilcox and his attorney. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wilcox said he was not aware of Loehmann’s background, as hiring and firing the borough’s sole officer is the purview of the city council, News 5 reported. Wilcox attended Loehmann’s interview — detailing the time of the ex-Cleveland officer was discussed, though his involvement in Rice’s death was not mentioned — after which Loehmann was “unanimously approved” by the board, News 5 reported.
“I wasn’t allowed to bring his resume or look at his background,” News 5 quoted the mayor as saying.
According to Hilow, the mayor was well aware of Loehmann’s background before he took the oath.
“It’s unfair for the mayor to say otherwise,” Hilow said in a statement to CNN.
Hazlett confirmed to CNN that Loehmann “withdrew his application” and then clarified that by “application” he meant Loehmann’s position with the Tioga Borough Police Department.
Other city officials did not respond to CNN’s questions about Loehmann’s employment history.
At the time of his gunshot, Rice was holding a toy replica pistol. A witness called 911 and reported that a person brandishing a firearm was in a park. The caller said the firearm was likely a fake, but that information was not passed on to the dispatched officers. Loehmann was doing an internship at the time.
An Ohio grand jury declined to criminally charge the officers in 2015.
Loehmann was eventually fired in 2017 — not for the shooting, but because investigators found he wasn’t honest about his employment history when he applied.