I-TEAM: Cleveland police union files appeal to overturn firing of officer who shot Tamir Rice

CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I-TEAM has learned the Cleveland police union has filed an appeal in court trying to overturn the firing of Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

The city fired Loehmann over the way he filled out his job application and not for the shooting, but an arbitrator upheld the firing.

Now, the police union has appealed that ruling in Cuyahoga County Court.

The shooting happened in November 2014, causing an uproar in the streets and protests that have gone on for years.

The incident happened after Cleveland police got a call about someone with a gun outside the Cudell Recreation Center.

Police said Rice had an airsoft pistol that looked much more powerful and officer Loehmann opened fire when he said the boy reached toward his waistband. No criminal charges were issued against the officers.

Loehmann, a rookie police officer, was fired in 2017 after the police department said he lied on his police application. The city found he did not fully disclose his employment history.

Police union president Jeff Follmer told the I-TEAM, “Officer Loehmann has been treated unfairly by the city and the arbitration. We are hoping whatever county judge receives this appeal will go on the merits of fact and not political pressure.”

As all of this played out over the years, Cleveland City Hall settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Rice for $6 million.

The appeal of the arbitrator’s ruling was filed Friday and the city will now have a chance to respond. City Hall has a policy of not commenting publicly on pending litigation.

The Rice family's attorney, Subodh Chandra, provided FOX 8 with the following statement regarding the union appealing the arbitrator's decision:

"It is most unfortunate that the CPPA continues to insist it’s okay for a law-enforcement officer to lie on his employment application —that is, continues to embrace lawlessness in law enforcement. Until CPPA comprehends its officers are not above the law, none of us are safe. And Tamir? With a police union as lawless as that, the child never stood a chance."

Continuing coverage, here.

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