CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Cleveland police officer who was fired after shooting and killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to help him get his job back.
Attorneys for Timothy Loehmann filed an appeal, urging justices to force a lower court to hear his case.
On Friday, attorneys trying to get Loehmann reinstated as a Cleveland police officer appealed his case to the Ohio Supreme Court. Last month, the Eighth District Court of Appeals refused to hear arguments in the case.
“They’re trying to say that we didn’t file this in a timely manner, and we’re saying, ‘Yes we did’ and we want the appeal and its merits to be heard,” said Jeff Follmer, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.
Loehmann shot and killed Rice in November 2014 outside the Cudell Recreation Center, responding to calls that someone was waving a gun at people. Within seconds of two officers arriving, Loehmann opened fire on Tamir, believing he was reaching for the weapon, which turned out to be a toy gun.
“It was investigated by the sheriff’s department, by the grand jury, the county and it was even reviewed by a civilian board set up by the chief,” Follmer said.
No criminal charges were ever filed. But in 2017, the city of Cleveland fired Loehmann claiming he did not mention that he was forced to resign from the Independence Police Department before he would be let go over performance issues.
“The only thing they found that he did wrong was lied on his application, which we’re disputing that he did not lie on his application… Everything else was justified,” Follmer said.
An arbitrator and a Cuyahoga County judge upheld the city’s right to fire Loehmann. But when Loehmann appealed to the court of appeals, the three judge panel refused to hear his case, ruling his attorneys improperly filed their paperwork with the city, instead of the law firm the city hired to handle the case.
“Let’s not kid each other, they all work for each other… The city farms out firms and they’re all under the city, so if we gave the appeal to a city attorney, they represent this firm also,” Follmer said.
In a statement, Tamir’s mother Samaria Rice, told FOX 8, “The police union should be ashamed of itself for still trying to put a dangerous police officer back on the street. Every time they try to do this, they hurt my family and put the public at risk.”
“It’s his constitutional right to go forward on this and it’s a political thing. He’s not getting his job back because of all the politics,” Follmer said.
A spokeswoman told FOX 8 that the city of Cleveland does not comment on pending litigation.