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Cleveland Police Fire Cop Who Killed Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice and the Value of Life

The Cleveland police officer who fatally wounded 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 as he played near his home was fired Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

At a news conference, officials said the officer, Timothy Loehmann, would be terminated immediately. Officer Frank Garmback, who was driving the patrol car when Rice was shot, will be suspended for 10 days starting Wednesday.

The decision follows what Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson referred to as an “exhaustive process.”

“This has been tough on our entire community, and definitely on the Rice family,” Police Chief Calvin Williams said. “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.”

Officer Garmback was suspended for administrative violations related to the shooting, but charges against Loehmann did not even reflect the Nov. 2014 incident.

Instead, he was fired for lying on his employment application in 2013. The violation came to light after officials launched an investigation into the officers’ actions following the child’s death.

While Tamir’s family was relieved to hear of Loehmann’s termination, his mother, Samira Rice, said it was too little, too late.

“Shame on the city of Cleveland for taking so long to render a decision like this,” she said in a phone interview with The New York Times. “Timothy Loehmann should have never been a police officer in the first place.”

She also added that Officer Garmback should have been fired, not suspended “for pulling up so close to my son to create the danger” at the time of the shooting incident.

In 2015, a grand jury declined to charge any of the officers in Tamir’s death, sparking national outrage over this and other national headline-making shootings involving African-Americans at the hands of police.

“This has been a long journey that was very unnecessary,” Rice said in response to Loehmann’s termination.

 

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