Former Cleveland Cop Who Killed Tamir Rice Withdraws Application for Tioga Borough Police Officer
UPDATE 7/7/22: According to a post on the Tioga Borough website on Thursday, Timothy Loehmann has withdrawn his application for Tioga Borough Police Officer.
TIOGA BOROUGH, PA (WENY) -- The former police officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice in 2014 has been sworn in as the newest officer for the Borough of Tioga.
In several photos on social media, Timothy Loehmann was sworn in as a borough police officer Tuesday night. After news of the borough's newest hire spread on social media, a protest was staged at the borough offices.
Tioga Borough Mayor David Wilcox said he was unaware of Loehmann's background during the swearing-in ceremony, and that he is not involved with the hiring or firing of personnel. Mayor Wilcox said the borough council is responsible for personnel matters. Mayor Wilcox added that the council president lead him to believe a full background check was done, and no issues were found.
"I was under the understanding, through our police committee and our Borough president, that they did an extensive background check on him," he said. "Everything checked out, everyone they spoke to, clean record...and that was my understanding."
At the protest, Mayor Wilcox spoke to WENY News, he did confirm that Timothy Loehmann, who was sworn-in Tuesday night, is the former City of Cleveland police officer.
Mayor Wilcox said he was notified via text message by the council to swear in Loehmann on Tuesday.
"I found it weird...because we don't swear people in that way anymore...the way we used to," he said. Now, you can take your oath of office to the notary and have them sign it for free, right here in town at the bank...I thought it was a little weird right from the beginning."
Protesters gathered together to speak to Mayor Wilcox about their outrage against the council's decision. Michele Applebee, a protester from Mainesburg, Pennsylvania, said she feels betrayed.
"It's a betrayal of this community's trust for them to hire somebody like that man... and I'm not going to say his name because he doesn't deserve it," she said. "He shouldn't be allowed to have a gun ever again, honestly."
Tioga Borough, which has a population of roughly 700 people, is located roughly 7 miles south of the border with New York State. Mayor Wilcox said they only have one police officer, and the budget only allows for one.
Loehmann was at the center of national controversy after fatally shooting the 12-year-old Cleveland boy. Loehmann was responding to a call of someone waving around a gun, and when he arrived on scene, he shot Tamir Rice just seconds after arriving on scene. Afterward, it was discovered that Rice was carrying a pellet gun. The investigation into the shooting also revealed that the 911 caller told the dispatcher that the person waving a gun might be a child, and the gun could be fake.
Loehmann was fired from the Cleveland Police Department in 2017 for lying on his job application. Loehmann was not criminally charged for killing Rice, however, the City of Cleveland agreed to pay the Rice family $6 million dollars in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Mayor Wilcox said he is planning an emergency meeting with the council and will not let Loehmann patrol the streets after tonight's protest. The mayor is encouraging residents to show up to the upcoming meeting to voice their concerns.
The lawyer for Tamir Rice's family, Subodh Chandra, issued the following statement:
"Tioga officials apparently don’t care whether a police officer was considered mentally unfit for one department, lied on his application to another, rushed upon and slew a child, and then lied about calling out warnings to Tamir—when his window was rolled up on a winter’s day. Loehmann—who should never again be entrusted with a badge and gun—is shamelessly determined to inflict himself upon other communities. He's also determined to hurt the family of Tamir Rice with his antics when he should just go live the rest of his life—life he deprived Tamir of—in shame. Let’s hope Tioga residents have the good sense to question the poor judgment of their misguided and indifferent officials.
Every time Timothy Loehmann testifies in a criminal case, Tioga officials and prosecutors will be required to provide defendants and defense counsel Loehmann's record of lying, which is known as Brady evidence. He's damaged goods and no community should ever want him responsible for enforcing their laws. Officials who do are betraying the trust of their citizens."
Statement from Jeff Follmer, the President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association:
"Timothy Loehmann was cleared of all charges with his use of force. The only administrative charges after a civilian review was that he was found to have allegedly lied on his application. Timothy Loehmann was not given a fair chance in this area and deserves a fair chance in another city."