Officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice withdraws from small-town police force

The police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2014 withdrew his application on Thursday to become a small-town police officer in Pennsylvania.

Timothy Loehmann was sworn in Tuesday as the sole police officer for the city of Tioga but withdrew his application on Thursday, according to the town borough’s website.

Loehmann, whose hiring drew protests and fierce criticism from the small town about four hours outside of Philadelphia, Pa., was a former Cleveland officer who faced national anger after he shot and killed Rice, who is Black.

Rice was playing with a pellet gun when Loehmann, then a rookie officer, responded to the report of a person waving a gun around. The caller specified the person may be a child and the gun may have been a fake, but Loehmann, who is white, fatally shot the boy shortly after arriving on scene.

Loehmann was cleared in the shooting by a grand jury, but was fired by the Cleveland Police Department in 2017 for allegedly omitting information about his employment history. In 2016, the city of Cleveland reached a $6 million settlement with Rice’s family, who had filed a wrongful death suit. Loehman has never been formally cahrged.

Both Democrats and Rice’s family last year called on the Biden administration to re-open a probe into the shooting in following the 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of a white officer in Minneapolis, which reignited a worldwide racial justice movement.

After Loehmann was sworn in to police Tioga Borough on Tuesday, dozens demonstrated outside the town hall offices, according to local news outlet WENY News. Mayor David Wilcox, who appeared at the protest, told the publication he had been unaware of Loehmann’s background until after the swearing-in ceremony.

Subodh Chandra, an attorney who represented Rice’s family, said in a statement on Wednesday that Tioga officials “apparently don’t care” that Loehmann “slew a child.”

“He’s damaged goods and no community should ever want him responsible for enforcing their laws,” Chandra wrote on his website. “Officials who do are betraying the trust of their citizens.”

Loehmann was also hired to police the small town of Bellaire, Ohio, in 2018 but withdrew his application after similar objections.

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