Tamir Rice’s mother said she fell to her knees when she got the news that the cop who shot and killed her 12-year-old son in 2014 has landed a new job with a small-town Ohio police department.
“It put me in a state of shock,” Samaria Rice told The Daily Beast on Monday. “It was just a feeling of numbness through my whole body.”
But shock has now given way to anger, and Rice said she is launching a letter-writing and call-in campaign, asking supporters to contact the town of Bellaire in an effort to get the job offer rescinded.
“How could anyone even consider putting him on a police force?” she said. “That police chief is putting his own people in danger.”
Bellaire Police Chief Dick Flanagan announced last week that he is giving a part-time job to Timothy Loehmann—who was fired from the Cleveland Police Department after Tamir’s death—saying he deserved a “second chance.”
There were no second chances for Tamir, who was was fatally shot while sitting in a Cleveland park with a toy pistol, one in a series of fatal police shootings that galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.
A grand jury declined to indict Loehmann. The city of Cleveland settled a lawsuit by his family for $6 million and fired Loehmann, not for shooting Rice but for giving false information on his job application.
Loehmann had failed to disclose that he was on the verge of being fired when he was allowed to resigned from his previous position as a cop for the suburban Independence Police Department. Superiors there had cited Loehmann for an “emotional breakdown” during a qualification course, failing to secure his weapon, insubordination and lying, and an inability to emotionally function.
“It’s going to take more than four years to rehabilitate that,” Rice said. “He murdered a 12-year-old innocent child. He doesn’t need to be on anyone’s police force.”
Rice, who is the process of opening a cultural center for youth named after her son, said her family felt “re-traumatized” by the news about Loehmann. Her 18-year-old daughter, who was handcuffed when she tried to rush to Tamir’s side after the shooting, “actually collapsed when she heard it.”
Flanagan has not returned calls from The Daily Beast. But he told the The Intelligencer newspaper that he had no reservations about hiring Loehmann.
“He was cleared of any and all wrongdoing. He was never charged. It’s over and done with,” the chief said, adding that he believed it was wrong for people to “crucify” Loehmann.
Rice said she plans to reach out directly to Flanagan.
“He needs to reconsider,” she said. “I may be going down there in person.”