Cleveland, OH- Personnel files of Cleveland Officer Tim Loehmann released by Cleveland.com revealed that Loehmann displayed serious problems with handgun training stemming from emotional issues.
Loehmann’s personal and professional history is under scrutiny following the tragic November 22nd incident in which Loehmann shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice after a 911 call reported a person with a gun that was “probably fake”. Surveillance footage of the shooting showed that Loehmann shot Rice within seconds of approaching him in a cruiser, contradicting a statement from Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba who said officers gave Tamir three orders to “show your hands”.
Before joining the Cleveland Police Department, Loehmann was a patrol officer working for the Independence Police Department. 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:
[pull_quote_center]”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.”[/pull_quote_center]
According to the memorandum, Tinnirello and Loehmann then went for a drive to discuss the incident at the shooting range. During this drive, “Sgt. Tinnirello continued to speak with Tim about his problems, and Ptl. Loehmann continued with his emotional meltdown to a point where Sgt. Tinnirello could not take him into the store, so they went to get something to eat and he continued to try and calm Ptl. Loehmann,” Polak wrote. “Sgt. Tinnirello describes the recruit as being very downtrodden, melancholy with some light crying. Sgt. Tinnirello later found this emotional perplexity was due to a personal issue with Ptl. Loehmann’s on and off again girlfriend whom he was dealing with till 0400 hrs the night before.”
Polak added that Loehmann was “not mature enough in his accepting of responsibility or his understanding in the severity of his loss of control on the range.”
The memorandum noted that Loehmann appeared to display lack of loyalty with IPD. “He [Loehmann] keeps referring to being told to stay in Independence, although it appears he often thinks of going to NY, where his best friend lives, and he has opportunities to work for NYPD,” Polak wrote. “He told me that he was called by NYPD, and although he declined their position, he was told he would be on their list for 2 more years. That theme was repeated many times by Ptl. Loehmann, even him stating, ‘I will work here as long as possible; and do my best, but if I find I don’t like it then I will go do something else.’ I found this lack of commitment to us, disturbing.”
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.”
Loehmann chose to resign ahead of being released by IPD. Loehmann joined the Cleveland Police Department in March. Cleveland police spokesman Sgt. Ali Pillow acknowledged that Cleveland police never saw the the personnel files criticizing Loehmann and recommending his departure from IPD before hiring him. Cleveland police had inquired IPD’s human resources department about any disciplinary measures taken against Loehmann during his time there, and IPD informed them that there were none.
CBS reports that Loehmann has returned to work but is not on patrol while an investigation is underway.