Cleveland, OH- Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty announced Monday that a grand jury has declined to criminally charge Cleveland Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback in the 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice.
Rice, 13, was shot and killed by Loehmann on November 22, 2014 after an individual called 911 to report someone at the Cudell Recreation Center playing with a gun described as “probably fake.” Rice had been carrying an air gun, which was missing its orange tip, at the recreation center.
According to surveillance footage, Garmback pulled the police cruiser a few feet away from Rice and Loehmann fired his weapon nearly immediately after exiting the cruiser.
McGinty said that evidence which had been examined by a grand jury since October “did not constitute criminal action by police,” though he acknowledged “a perfect storm of human error.”
McGinty said that the video footage showed it was “indisputable” that Rice was pulling out the air gun out of his waistband when he was shot and noted that the officers didn’t know if Rice was pulling out the weapon to surrender it or to show it.
Loehmann’s employment history at another police department fell under scrutiny following the death of Rice. Loehmann, who was once a patrol officer at the Independence Police Department, resigned from his position as he was about to be terminated for a number of issues including “emotional perplexity” and poor performance during handgun training.
As Truth in Media previously reported:
A memorandum, written by Independence Deputy Chief Jim Polak, expressed concern over Loehmann’s emotional issues during his poor performance at a state range qualification course for handgun training. Polak wrote that he was notified of Loehmann’s emotional issues by Independence Police Sgt. Greg Tinnirello:
“I was notified by FTO Sgt. Tinnirello of the following circumstances related to our recruit, Ptl. Loehmann. A written statement was included. On this date, during a state range qualification course Ptl. Loehmann was distracted and weepy. He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. Sgt. Tinnirello tried to work through this with Ptl. Loehmann by giving him some time. But, after some talking it was clear to Sgt. Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training.”
Polak concluded that “due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment. Unfortunately in law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed. Ptl. Loehmann’s lack of commitment for his future here at Independence is disconcerting.” Polak recommended that Loehmann be released from the department and wrote that neither “time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”
The Cleveland Police Department acknowledged that Loehmann’s background was never examined and later suspended Lt. Gail Bindel and issued a written reprimand to Sgt. Edwin Santiago, the two officers in charge of hiring Loehmann who failed to “adequately supervise and review an applicant’s background investigation.
Earlier this month, Ben Swann questioned the length of time taken by grand juries to decide to bring charges against police officers.