Cleveland officials on Tuesday fired the police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice and suspended the other officer involved in the incident for 10 days.
However, Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Tamir, wasn’t fired for the incident; rather, the rookie officer was fired for not being completely forthcoming on his application to become a police officer, Cleveland.com reported.
Samaria Rice said she was relieved but not satisfied and said she thought the firing should have come as a proximate result of the actions that led to her son’s death.
Rice also said Loehmann’s training officer, Frank Garmback, should have been fired for his role in the events that led to the fatal shooting. Garmback was censured for driving the police cruiser too close to Tamir, forcing Loehmann’s hand, according to documents.
Later in the day, the leader of the rank-and-file police officer’s union vowed to get Loehmann’s job back and reverse the discipline levied against Garmback.
At a news conference, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said that in 2015 the police department began looking through employment history during the hiring process, which it did not do when it hired Loehmann.
“Hopefully we won’t have any more incidents like this,” Williams said.
In a statement released by family attorneys, Rice said Loehmann “should never have been a police officer in the first place — but he should have been fired for shooting my son in less than one second, not just for lying on his application.”
“As we continue to grieve for Tamir, I hope this is a call for all of us to build stronger communities together,” Rice said.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson offered his condolences to the Rice family and said the city went through “an exhaustive process” in reviewing the officers’ actions.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association said in a statement published by ABC News that the decisions to discipline Garmback and terminate Loehmann were “imposed merely to appease segments of this community who have demanded their heads.”
“The employment application of no other employee of the city of Cleveland has ever been scrutinized as carefully as Officer Loehmann’s, and even that scrutiny was unable to find any alleged errors or mistakes that are not easily justifiable,” the association said. “Four independent law enforcement agencies previously cleared them of any criminal wrongdoing, as well as the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and grand jury. There is simply no factual basis on which an unbiased decision-maker could conclude that either officer should be administratively disciplined.”
The association said the city’s Critical Incident Review Committee “unanimously found that neither officer had violated any city rules, policies or training. Indeed, the committee found that each officer acted in accordance with their training and experience.”