The One Story: HBCUs And The Gatekeeping Of Black Culture
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The ruling in Cleveland on Friday that upheld the firing of Tamir Rice‘s killer cop laid bare a number of facts about Timothy Loehmann, the aptly surnamed former police officer who shot the 12-year-old on sight in 2014. Chief among those facts was that the Cleveland Police Department was justified in firing Loehmann, according to the Associated Press — even if it did take nearly three years to terminate him from the force.

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However, the proceedings in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court also made something else abundantly clear: seemingly absolutely no one will hire Loehmann for any work whatsoever.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA), the union for officers, was bankrolling the appeal to Loehmann’s firing but the termination was upheld in court last year around this time. Fast forward a year and now an arbitrator has upheld that decision. The CPPA was working for Loehmann to get his job back with the Cleveland Police Department because, apparently, there is no work for him in law enforcement anywhere else.

The ironic thing is that Loehmann wasn’t actually fired for killing Rice. Loehmann, who said he feared for his life when he and his partner sped up to Tamir in their cruiser, hopped out and killed the 12-year-old boy within seconds. He was ultimately cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

But Loehmann lied on his application to the Cleveland Police Department and conveniently left out the fact that he was previously fired from another Ohio police department for being unfit for duty over concerns that he “could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal.”

The Associated Press reported that Loehmann has had at least one other job opportunity, but he was shamed into not moving forward with it.

“Loehmann was offered a part-time position with a police department in the southeast Ohio village of Bellaire in October 2018, but withdrew his application days later after Tamir’s mother, Samaria, and others criticized the hiring,” the Associated Press wrote.

With the president bragging about how low the unemployment rate is, maybe Loehmann needs to expand his search to include potential opportunities that are not in law enforcement.

At least one former police officer who shot an unarmed Black person while on duty in another high-profile case of police brutality and implicit bias has stayed within the industry of her choice. Betty Shelby, the former Tulsa police officer who shot and killed Terrence Crutcher — a Black man who had his hands raised when he shot in 2016 — was sworn in as a reserve deputy with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office in Oklahoma a little over a year later.

Now, ironically, Shelby teaches police officers how to survive police shootings, “legally, emotionally and physically,” the Washington Post reported, showing that there are still police departments that will hire killer cops.


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