(CLEVELAND) — The mother of Tamir Rice, the Black 12-year-old Cleveland boy shot to death by a white cop in 2014, is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to reject an attempt by the officer to get his job back.
An attorney for Samaria Rice filed an amicus brief on Monday, asking the state Supreme Court to uphold an appellate court’s ruling this year that former police officer Timothy Loehmann should not be reinstated as a Cleveland police officer after lawyers for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association argued he was wrongfully terminated.
Loehmann was fired in May 2017 — but not for shooting Tamir Rice. He lost his job when police department officials learned he lied on his application to become a Cleveland police officer, failing to disclose he had been fired from another Ohio police department.
“Timothy Loehmann can’t be trusted. I hope that the Supreme Court does not give him a chance to get back his job,” Samaria Rice said in a statement. “The fact that the Cleveland police union is still trying to get him his job despite him killing my child and lying on his application to become a police officer shows you just how immoral that organization’s leadership is.”
Loehmann’s quest to get his badge back comes after a three-judge panel of the Eighth District Court of Appeals in Cuyahoga County unanimously dismissed an appeal of an arbitrator’s decision supporting his firing. A county judge also upheld the police department’s decision to terminate Loehmann.
The appeals court found that the police union failed to formally serve attorneys for the city of Cleveland within a required three-month deadline with a notice that it was challenging the arbitrator’s decision.
The state Supreme Court has yet to schedule a hearing on Loehmann’s appeal.
On Nov. 22, 2014, a 911 caller reported seeing a man in Cleveland’s Cudell Recreation Center park randomly pointing what appeared to be “a pistol” at people. The caller told the dispatcher that the pistol was “probably fake” and that the person holding the gun was “probably a juvenile.”
Loehmann, who was then 26 years old, responded with his partner, 46-year-old Frank Garmback. Surveillance video showed Garmback driving a patrol car up to a park gazebo, Loehmann getting out of the passenger side and opening fire on Tamir, who had been playing with a pellet gun. Tamir was hit twice.
The shooting prompted protests in Cleveland and across the nation.
In December 2015, a Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to indict Loehmann and Garmback on criminal charges and a prosecutor released a report that concluded Loehmann was justified in his use of deadly force because he believed the boy posed a threat.
Garmback was allowed to remain on the police force.
Subodh Chandra, an attorney for the Rice family, slammed Loehmann’s attempt to get his job back, saying in a statement to ABC affiliate station WEWS-TV in Cleveland: “His sense of entitlement after not just killing a child but lying to become a police officer should not be rewarded.”
“He was, and remains, unfit to serve as a police officer, in Cleveland or anywhere else,” Chandra said.
The city of Cleveland agreed in 2016 to pay the Rice family $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
Following a five-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that no federal charges would be filed against Loehmann and Garmback.
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