The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 as he held a pellet gun, was fired on Tuesday, Cleveland Police officials said.
Officials stated that the officer, Timothy Loehmann, would be terminated immediately and that Frank Garmback, an officer who was driving the patrol car that day, would be suspended for 10 days starting Wednesday.
The decision came after what Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson referred to as an “exhaustive process” of investigation.
“This has been tough on our entire community, and definitely on the Rice family. When this happened in 2014, I made the comment that this is, of course, a tragedy, but it’s even more tragic that it happened at the hands of a Cleveland police officer”, Cleveland Police chief Calvin Williams said.
While Officer Garmback was suspended for violations related to the shooting, such as failing to report his arrival to a radio dispatcher, the administrative charges filed against Officer Loehmann did not even mention the 2014 episode.
Loehmann was instead fired for lying on his employment application in 2013, a violation that was revealed following an investigation launched after Tamir’s death. However, the police chief noted that since the shooting, changes had been made in the way officers are trained.
Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said her family was relieved to hear of the firing but still considered it too little, too late.
“Shame on the city of Cleveland for taking so long to render a decision like this. Timothy Loehmann should have never been a police officer in the first place”, Samaria Rice stated.
On November 22, 2014, the officers were dispatched after Tamir was reported for playing with a pellet gun near a recreation center.
Though the caller specified that the gun was “probably fake,” the information was not communicated to the responding officers. The footage that was released after the episode showed that Officer Loehmann shot Tamir within two seconds of the patrol car pulling up beside the boy.