Timothy Loehmann—the officer who murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he was playing with a pellet gun outside of a recreation center in 2014—was reportedly recently hired as a part-time officer in Ohio.
The news is especially upsetting considering a grand jury declined to indict Loehmann following Rice’s murder. He was only fired in 2017 upon the discovery that he was previously deemed “unfit for duty,” USA Today notes. But Richard Flanagan—the police chief in Bellaire, the rural Ohio town of about 4,000 where Loehmann was hired—said that since Loehmann was never charged in Tamir’s death, he deserves another chance.
Tamir’s family is rightly upset. Family attorney Subodh Chandra told CBS Cleveland affiliate WOIO-TV that Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, does not believe Loehmann belongs “on any police force, anywhere, period.”
“Someone with his record should not be subjected upon the citizenry, but she does hope that this means that he will not ever return to Cleveland,” Chandra added.
News of Loehmann’s new job came not too long before Jason Van Dyke—the ex-Chicago police officer who killed LaQuan McDonald four years ago—was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. According to jurors, Van Dyke cried during his testimony.
“It seemed kind of like he was finally giving the play after they had been rehearsing with him for weeks,” woman juror—who noted him “staring at us, trying to win our sympathy”—said of his testimony. “We just didn’t buy it.”
While Van Dyke’s conviction provides justice in the case of LaQuan, the hiring of Loehmann under the guise of a “second chance” is a harrowing reminder that we still have a long way to go.