UPDATED: 2:10 p.m. ET, July 7, 2022
Originally published: July 6
The former police officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice has “withdrawn his application” to be a cop in a rural Pennsylvania town, according to the municipality and a local leader.
“Effective this morning, Timothy Loehmann has officially withdrawn his application for the Tioga Borough police position,” Tioga Borough Council President Steve Hazlett posted on his Facebook page — the same account he used to share the photo of Loehmann being sworn in.
The comments were replete with people calling for Hazlett to resign.
A time stamp on Hazlett’s Facebook post indicates he shared the announcement at 10:31 a.m. However, the post was deleted about an hour later.
NewsOne reported Thursday that Hazlett in 2015 called Rice “dumb” and blamed the 12-year-old boy for being fatally shot by Loehmann one year earlier.
The Borough of Tioga issued a one-sentence press release confirming Loehmann’s employment status.
“Effective this morning Timothy Loehmann has officially with drawn [sic] his application for Tioga Borough Police Officer,” it said.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
Tioga Borough, Pennsylvania recently hired the officer who killed Tamir Rice, signaling they don’t give a damn about Black life, or any life for that matter. A Facebook post from Tioga Borough Council President Steve Hazlett showed Timothy Loehmann being sworn in as the small rural community’s newest police officer.
Comments on the post varied, but the outrage and frustration were evident. One commenter called the hire disgusting, and others called for the borough to take accountability. Another commenter responded, “maybe if he kills a white kid, he won’t be allowed to be a cop anymore…or will they just send him to another state again?
A borough situated in the northern portion of Tioga County, Mayor David Wilcox said he was not involved in the hiring process claiming the council interviewed and hired Loehmann. The Sun-Gazette reported that the Tioga Borough mayor alleged he had no clue who he was swearing in Tuesday evening. A protest was scheduled for Wednesday evening.
The borough’s website says the mayor is responsible for overseeing police department administration while the council handles day-to-day matters. It has less than 1,000 residents and is approximately 95 percent white.
Subodh Chandra, one of the attorneys who represented Tamir’s estate and family, released a statement in response to Loehmann’s new job.
“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,” Chandra said. “Let’s hope Tioga residents have the good sense to question the poor judgment of their misguided and indifferent officials.”
As previously reported by the Associated Press, the Cleveland Police Department fired Loehmann in 2017 for providing false information on his job application. He appealed his termination to the Ohio Supreme Court in April 2021, but the state’s high court declined to take up the case.
In addition to challenging his fitness, Chandra also pointed out how Loehmann is a liability to any future case he could be called to give testimony.
“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,” explained. “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.
Tamir would have been 20 years old. His mother, Samaria Rice, has been organizing non-stop. In the nearly eight years since her son was killed. Last year, Rice was a part of the coalition that secured victory on Cleveland’s Issue 24, providing an opportunity for police accountability and oversight.
The Tamir Rice Foundation will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Rice Butterfly Memorial in honor of Tamir and his sister Tajai, who was brutally handled by police in the aftermath of her brother’s killing.