Demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland, during a protest over the police shooting of Tamir Rice.

3 Cleveland Officers Face Administrative Disciplinary Charges In 2014 Tamir Rice Shooting

On Friday, officials from the City of Cleveland announced that three officers who had been involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice would be facing internal administrative disciplinary charges. Following the 2014 shooting and subsequent public outrage, the city officials say these charges come at the end of a year-long internal investigation.

Charges were filed against Officers Timothy Loehmann, Frank Garmback, and William Cunningham II and included a use of force violation for them as well as administrative violations like creating untruthful reports or employment histories. Mayor Frank Jackson, Safety Director Michael McGrath, Police Chief Calvin Williams, and Deputy Police Chief Wayne Drummond were on hand at City Hall for the announcement regarding the disciplinary actions for the officers.

KTLA explains that Loehmann, who was the officer who shot Rice, is facing six charges including lying on his application to the Cleveland police department and failing to disclose that at his previous post at the Independence Police Department, he had been facing discharge when he resigned. Garmback is facing possible sanctions for the manner in which he drove the car up to the scene of Tamir Rice’s shooting death. If they are found guilty of the impending charges, the men could face suspension or they could be fired.

Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback were the ones who responded to the 911 call on November 22, 2014, claiming that someone was waving “a pistol” at people outside the Cudell Recreation Center. Loehmann, who was a trainee, pulled up the police cruiser and within seconds of arriving he shot Tamir. Rice had not had a real gun and had been playing with an airsoft pellet gun. According to the list of charges the city has on file, it is alleged that Garmback, who is facing two charges, did not follow proper procedure when he brought the zone car right up to the gazebo at the recreation center. He also failed to advise the police dispatcher that he and Loehmann had arrived at the Cudell Recreation Center.

Officer William Cunningham II was identified by the city as a member of the Cleveland police department who had been off duty and working a second job as security at the recreation center without permission at the time of the boy’s shooting death. Cunningham would later lie on a report he submitted during the investigation into the deadly force case.

At news of the charges against the officers, Tamir’s mother Samaria Rice said that she and the other members of the family want to see the men fired. She told the media that “They don’t need to be police officers terrorizing the city.” The announcement of the news was also highly criticized on social media and by many Black Lives Matter activists. Samaria Rice has also indicated that she is very upset over the findings of the internal investigation.

The decision was made by a grand jury back in 2015 not to indict Loehmann and Frank Garmback in the lawsuit filed by Tamir’s family against them. Following the settlement with the city in April, the Rice family filed a federal wrongful death suit on top of the criminal charges the men faced but were not indicted on.

A statement issued by the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association said that they would be reviewing the charges against Officers Loehmann and Garmback in detail and prepare the necessary defenses.

“There is no question, and there has never been, that the death of Tamir Rice was tragic. Nevertheless, all agree that Officer Loehmann was not wrong in reacting the way he did. It appears that the actual charges are created to discipline him, and perhaps discharge him, despite the fact that he did nothing wrong that day.”

The charge letters for the officers showed that the men are scheduled to have pre-disciplinary hearings on January 30 with the Cleveland director of public safety. It is at these hearing that they will have the opportunity to defend themselves.

[Featured Image by Tony Dejak/AP Images]