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Tioga hires cop who killed Tamir Rice in 2014

Tamir Rice.

Tioga borough’s police department recently hired Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland, Ohio, police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, borough officials confirmed Wednesday.

Loehmann was sworn in at the borough council meeting on July 5 after a unanimous vote by borough council. Local press were given another name, Timothy Lochmann. But on social media Wednesday, borough president Steve Hazlett said his last name was indeed Loehmann.

Loehmann set off nationwide protests when he shot and killed Rice on Nov. 22, just three months after Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri. Tioga Borough Mayor David Wilcox told the Sun-Gazette that though he swore Loehmann in and oversees the police department, he was not allowed to see the applications for the officer position in Tioga Borough and had no clue who this person was when he swore them in Tuesday evening.

Council member Alan Brooks and council president Steve Hazlett had not replied to the Sun-Gazette as of Wednesday afternoon. According to social media, a protest is planned for 6 p.m., Wednesday in Tioga.

According to police documents and video surveillance, a 911 call was placed around 3:30 p.m. on that November day to report a young male flashing what appeared to be a pistol. The firearm in question was actually an Airsoft gun. Officers Loehmann and Frank Garmback arrived at the scene soon after, where Loehmann exited the car and fired two shots. Rice died the next day at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland from gunshot wounds to his torso.

There are disputes about a motion Rice made with his hand during the encounter after Loehmann told him to put his hands in the air. Cleveland Police Leadership stated after the incident that Rice was reaching for a firearm, but the Rice family disputes this.

Loehmann was cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury investigation the next year, though proceedings were contentious, with Jeffrey Noble, a retired police officer and use-of-force expert telling GQ Magazine that “I’ve definitely never seen two prosecutors play defense attorney so well.”

Afterwards, Loehmann was fired from the Cleveland Police Department — not for the incident but for lying on his police application to Cleveland, according to then-Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. The discrepancy, according to Cleveland.com and other outlets was that Loehmann had lied about why he left his previous job with the police department in Independence, Ohio. The discrepancy was centered around Loehmann saying he left for “personal reasons.” Rather, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed news, Loehmann was asked to either leave his position or be fired for being “emotionally unstable” and “unfit for duty.”

In October of 2018, according to News Net 5, a television station in Cleveland, Loehmann was hired as a part-time officer in Bellaire, Cleveland, but resigned five days later after outrage.

Video from Wednesday evening’s protest at the Tioga Borough building:

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