CLEVELAND – The leader of Cleveland’s Police Union says he does not believe it is a concern that the rookie police officer involved in the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was turned down by two other police departments, before being hired by Cleveland.
“There are several departments that didn’t hire me when I started out,” said Steve Loomis, President of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association. “That’s typical, you take as many tests as you can and hope for the best. Sooner or later someone is going to pick you up if you are diligent enough and Tim certainly was and is, and will be a fine addition to the Cleveland Police Department.”
According to officials at the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Timothy Loehmann, did not get a deputy position he applied for in September 2013. Officials would not say why.
Officials at Parma Heights Police say Loehmann interviewed for a job in Dec. 2013 but also was not hired.
“Most times it is nothing negative it is just someone else was more qualified, or a better fit to be an officer in Parma Heights,” said Det. Sgt. Steve Scharschmidt.
Parma Heights officials said they did review Loehmann’s personnel file from Independence Police as part of his background check. Something that Cleveland officials didn’t do before hiring him.
Loehmann resigned from Independence in December 2012 after he learned he could be fired. A supervisor had written that Loehmann had a dangerous loss of composure during live range training. He was hired in Cleveland in March 2014 and attorneys representing Tamir Rice’s family want answers.
“Why was this police officer, this shooter of Tamir Rice, even on the Cleveland police force especially considering his checkered past, his checkered history in law enforcement,” said Atty. Benjamin Crump, who represents Tamir Rice’s family.
12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot November 22 in the playground area of the Cuddell Recreation Center. Police were responding to a call about a man with a gun. Officers say they told Tamir Rice to put his hands in the air, but instead he reached for his waistband. He was shot. Tamir Rice had an airsoft pistol.
Loomis stressed that while this is a tragic shooting he believes the officers use of deadly force was justified.