The Sad and Negligent Decision to Hire Officer Timothy Loehmann

Tamir_Rice_family_photo

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

It is always tragic when anyone is killed.  It doesn’t matter if it is accidental or intentional.  The tragedy of someone dying is universal.  However, when the person killed by a Cleveland Police Officer is a 12-year-old, tragic just doesn’t seem to describe it correctly.  You will probably recall the recent case out of Cleveland, Ohio where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by Officer Timothy Loehmann.

Tamir Rice was shot while playing in a Cleveland park.  A citizen called 911 and suggested that a juvenile was pointing a gun, which was probably a toy, at people in the park.  When Officer Loehmann and his partner answered the call they saw Tamir playing on a swing with the “weapon” in the waistband of his pants.  Released videos suggested that Officer Loehmann fired at Tamir within 1-2 seconds of arriving at the park. That same video evidence also shows police throwing Tamir’s 14-year-old sister to the ground and handcuffing her.

When I first heard about the November 22nd, 2014 incident, I was shocked that a 12 year could be gun downed by a police officer.  Even the recent stories about the police killing suspects in New Mexico, Missouri, New York City, to name a few, did not prepare me for this killing.  Tamir was a 12-year-old child.

When the videos came out and when the truth about Officer Loehmann surfaced, I realized that Officer Loehmann was unfit for duty as a police officer anywhere and the Cleveland Police Department was negligent in hiring an unstable young man to patrol its streets.  The decision to hire Officer Loehmann initiated the sad outcome in November.

When the personnel records of Officer Loehmann were recently released, it became apparent to any reasonable person that Loehmann was unfit to be a police officer anywhere, yet alone a large city police force.  He had previously held a position for a mere 6 months with the Independence Ohio Police Department.  During that short tenure, his supervisors documented an emotionally unstable individual who was unable to follow rules.

“Before Cleveland police department officer Timothy Loehmann tragically shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, he accumulated a record of emotional instability, disregard for training, and ineptitude for the job so severe that he should have never been hired. As you will see below, his previous supervisors in Independence, Ohio, said as much. As many as seven police departments and programs turned him down in the aftermath of his termination from Independence, but Cleveland, which claims they never checked his records, hired him. They should be held accountable for this mistake of fatal proportions.

It’s nearly impossible to find a documented case of someone less qualified to have a badge and a gun than officer Timothy Loehmann. It’s frightening, when reviewing the evidence, to think that he was ever hired and makes one wonder how many other times police departments have completely ignored human resource files when making hires for those expected to protect and serve us.

In 2012, Timothy Loehmann was hired by the Independence, Ohio police department. Even then, it was a mistake to hire him, but the department quickly and firmly tried to make it right. Below the fold is Timothy Loehmann’s entire personnel file from the Independence police department for you to review for yourself. Important highlights have been noted below it, including their statements on his poor performance in gun training, his continued emotional instability, his willingness to lie, and their final recommendation that he be terminated and never employed as an officer again.” Daily Kos

The Daily Kos article linked above includes a full listing of the personnel records of Mr. Loehmann and it is hard to read it and understand how he could have been wearing a Cleveland Police uniform on that fateful day last November.  As unbelievable as it sounds, the Cleveland Police Department never reviewed Loehmann’s personnel file from the Independence Ohio Police Department.

You read that right, they have admitted that those past records were never reviewed before hiring Loehmann!

The idea that an employer would not review the prior work record of any employee is hard to imagine, especially when that job is for a position on the police force of Cleveland Ohio.  I am not sure that the word negligence is accurate enough to describe the Cleveland Police Department’s severe lack of due diligence.

While our country continues to struggle with multiple police shootings and incidents of alleged police abuse that have resulted in loss of life, particularly in the minority community, it is disturbing to read that the latest example of police abuse could have been prevented by the Cleveland Police Department merely doing their minimal due diligence before hiring Officer Loehmann.

How can a police department that does not check the past work history of potential hires be trusted to make sure that their officers are not firing first and asking questions later?    Shame on Officer Loehmann, but shame also on the Cleveland Police Department.

Will justice be done on behalf of Tamir Rice?

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: The Guardian;Cleveland.com

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”

28 thoughts on “The Sad and Negligent Decision to Hire Officer Timothy Loehmann

  1. rafflaw … as much as I enjoy arguing with you, in this case, if the facts of your post are correct, and I think they are, there is no argument. None.

    I’ve had many police officers and soldiers as friends, and none of them would question my judgment on this matter, based upon your post. Not a single one. When you set out to shoot and kill a man (or a boy) you’d damned sure better have considered all of the related facts and consequences, before you shoot…or you should not be in a position of being able to do so. It just doesn’t take that long if you have any experience. The snippet in the popular movie now, “American Sniper” where Kyle is saying to himself, as he looks at a kid with an RPG, “put it down”…is germane and perfectly posed. You never want the worst to happen. Never. Ever. Even in war. I will tell you, from much lessor experience, outright, that scene is entirely believable.

    My worst fear, of all my sundry fears, is to fire at a person who is actually innocent of any threat…and I know threats very well from 40+ years of dealing with them. I do not believe I could do so. I really do not think so. It might cost me my life someday, but it won’t take that of an innocent in the process. I could not live with the latter. Period.

  2. The video shows a police car coming up quickly to a stop as close to the kid as possible. The cop exits and shoots in a matter of seconds. It seems that both cops are either poorly trained, mentally unbalanced, or both.

    What about, arriving slowly, examining from a safe distance, the area, the boy, the situation, positioning themselves in a position to fire, then calling for the boy to present himself. If the kid then acted dangerously they could shoot him. He still would have had a toy gun and been 12 years old, but the cops would have shown a modicum of intelligence.

    It seems the bottom line here is two idiots, one more stupid than the other, should not have been allowed anywhere a gun, let alone the police force.

  3. ““Before Cleveland police department officer Timothy Loehmann tragically shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, he accumulated a record of emotional instability, disregard for training, and ineptitude for the job so severe that he should have never been hired. As you will see below, his previous supervisors in Independence, Ohio, said as much. As many as seven police departments and programs turned him down in the aftermath of his termination from Independence, but Cleveland, which claims they never checked his records, hired him. They should be held accountable for this mistake of fatal proportions.”

    That is a very serious negligence, not to have checked his records before they hired him. This lays them open to a lawsuit.

    If this is the story I read about before, the boy was playing with a realistic looking toy gun which had the required orange cap identifying it as a toy removed. That was negligent on the parents’ part. You do not give a child a toy that looks like a real gun to go wave around in public. My parents would never have allowed it.

    But it sounds like the majority of the blame will ultimately lie with the police department, if this is true.

    I was going to write about the CA law, but DBQ beat me to it.

    Let’s just say that you own a company that installs tile. You hire an employee, but are prevented from asking about any prior arrest history. That guy had been arrested 5 times for home invasion and theft, and all 5 times he escaped conviction by providing evidence against other thieves. So you unknowingly hire him, and, as his past would have predicted, he immediately starts robbing your clients. He breaks into their houses, tie them up, and robs them, just like he did before. You get sued, and you lose your business.

    How would you feel if you found out that one of the workmen in your home had a long criminal record of arrests for home invasion??? One can be explained, but a string of arrests?

    The truth is the truth. And we should be allowed to investigate the criminal history of anyone we want to hire.

    The only aspect of the law that I agree with is that once a record becomes expunged, it should no longer be public record. For instance, if an innocent person was arrested, and found to be innocent, that arrest should be expunged. Problem solved.

    Pogo is spot on.

  4. Pogo

    What an incredible grab bag of retorts you have access to. Is ‘So’s your old man.’ or ‘Your mother wears army boots.’ in there with this one?

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