Officers In Tamir Rice Case Facing Disciplinary Charges
Two white police officers who were involved in the killing of Tamir Rice are facing internal disciplinary charges, according to an Associated Press report.
Police Chief Calvin Williams told the Associated Press that disciplinary charges were recommended against two officers: Timothy Loehmann, who shot Rice, and Frank Garmback, who was driving the cruiser. In Dec. 2015, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor cited a lack of evidence and refused to indict Loehmann and Garmback for the killing.
Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed in 2014 by Cleveland police while he was playing with a toy gun outside of a recreation center. The shooting and release of the footage, which showed the car pulling up near Rice and Loehmann shooting him almost immediately after arriving, fueled the movement of protests and activism to fight police brutality and racial profiling.
According to Cleveland Plain Dealer, the officers were disciplined for multiple reasons. Loehmann allegedly lied on his Cleveland police application, hiding information about a letter from a previous police department that said he had “an inability to emotionally function.” The letter also said that Loehmann had an emotional breakdown on the gun range at his previous police job, and refused to mention that he failed a written exam in 2009 when he applied for an officer job in Maple Heights.
Garmback’s disciplinary letter said that he drove too close to Tamir Rice, making a wrong response for someone who he thought was an armed suspect. The letter also said that he failed to report the time he arrived at the scene.
A third officer named William Cunningham, who was working off-duty at the recreation center, also received a disciplinary letter, being accused of lying to investigators and working off-duty without permission.
The family attorney of Rice had called for the firing of Loehmann and Garmack, and support for such a stance may continue åfter the content of Loehmann’s emotionally unstable past and Garmback’s driving issue, which many believed upon seeing the video footage. The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, the officers’ union, points out that Loehmann’s actions in the Rice killing specifically weren’t criticized, and blames Garmback’s driving issue on the vehicle slipping in the mud and ice. The union will prepare defense for the officers.