Protesters march during a rally at Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov. 24, 2014, following the November 22 fatal shooting of 12 year old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland Police officer.
Photo by David Maxwell/EPA

Officer who killed Tamir Rice found unfit in previous police job


The Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice last month resigned from his previous small-town police job after less than five months when he was deemed emotionally unstable and unfit for duty — especially in his handling of firearms — according to personnel records released Wednesday.

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Video released by the Cleveland police showed Officer Timothy A. Loehmann, 26, shooting Tamir immediately upon leaving his police car on Nov. 22. Investigators said Tamir was reaching into his waistband for a weapon — which turned out to be a toy pellet gun. The Cuyahoga County prosecutor plans to take the case before a grand jury to decide any charges.

Loehmann’s Cleveland personnel file shows that he was hired in May and that his resignation from the police department in the Cleveland suburb of Independence was noted.

The Independence squad released Loehmann’s personnel records (PDF) Wednesday, showing he quit his $42,157-a-year job as a patrolman in training on Dec. 3, 2012 — just a day after he graduated from the Cleveland Heights Police Academy and less than five months after he was hired in July 2012.

In a November 2012 memo, Deputy Chief Jim Polak recommended that Loehmann be dismissed. He cited a report from a firearms instructor who said Loehmann showed up for training “distracted,” “weepy” and unable to “communicate clear thoughts,” as a result of which, “his handgun performance was dismal.”

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“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,” Polak wrote on Nov. 29. “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct the deficiencies.”

Five days later, Loehmann resigned.