Timothy Loehmann fatally shot Tamir Rice in 2014 but was hired by Tioga borough council this week as the lone police officer for the small rural community. He withdrew his application Thursday without having worked a single shift.
The former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 is stepping down from the Tioga County community police force less than two days after being sworn in after protests from residents.
Timothy Loehmann was hired on a probationary period on Tuesday as the lone police officer in Tioga — a community of about 600 in rural north-central Pennsylvania, 300 miles from Cleveland. He withdrew his application for the $18-per-hour position Thursday without having worked a single shift, according to borough council President Steve Hazlett.
“The community spoke. They got their feelings out, and we listened to them and we’re going to react to it and that will be that,” Hazlett told the Associated Press. “We thank the community for stepping forward and letting their voices be heard.”
Rice, who was Black, was playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland in November 2014 when he was shot and killed by Loehmann seconds after Loehmann and his partner arrived. The officers, who are white, told investigators Loehmann had shouted three times at Rice to raise his hands.
The shooting sparked community protests about police treatment of Black people, especially after a grand jury decided not to indict Loehmann or his partner.
Loehmann has since made multiple attempts to find work in law enforcement. He accepted a part-time position with a police department in southeast Ohio in October 2018 but withdrew his application days later after Rice’s mother, Samaria, and others criticized the hiring.
As for how Loehmann got hired in Tioga, Hazlett told The Associated Press that “Tim held nothing back” in his application. “He was upfront with everything. That’s all I can say.”
A council subcommittee reviewed Loehmann’s application and interviewed him, then made a favorable recommendation to the full council, according to Hazlett. He said the full council was not privy to Loehmann’s application file. Hazlett, who said he took part in the subcommittee review, declined to say why he supported Loehmann’s hiring.
Mayor David Wilcox called for the resignations of Hazlett and two other council members he said knew about Loehmann’s background, declaring in a Facebook post Thursday: “You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Word that Loehmann had been hired drew protesters to the borough building on Wednesday night.
Tioga Borough Council will have a special meeting next week to likely accept Loehmann’s withdrawn application.
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