A Cleveland city employee was fired this week after posting derogatory comments about 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the boy killed in 2014 by two Cleveland police officers.
Think Progress reports that Jamie Marquardt, former captain of the Cleveland Emergency Medical Services (EMS), was fired from his position on Tuesday after posting Facebook comments about Tamir Rice that violated city policies. Marquardt allegedly took to his Facebook account to express regret that he wasn’t the one who shot the boy. He also wrote that he was happy “the little criminal” was dead.
“Tamir Rice should have been shot and I am glad he is dead. I am upset I did not get the chance to kill the little criminal.”
Dan Williams, spokesman for Cleveland EMS, released a public statement, detailing why Marquardt lost his job, despite the former EMS captain posting a public apology shortly after he published his inflammatory post.
“The posts were not acceptable and do not represent the views or standards of the City of Cleveland administration, Department of Public Safety or Division of Emergency Medical Services.”
Marquardt claimed that someone picked up his phone without his knowledge and posted the comments, but an internal city investigation into the matter led to his termination. According to Marquardt,
“Someone…picked up my phone and made some awful posts under my name. I want to apologize for those who thought it was me. I do not believe or stand for what was written.”
In 2014, officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback with the Cleveland Police shot and killed Tamir Rice outside of the Cudell Recreation Center. The boy was carrying an airsoft replica pistol that resembled a handgun. The officers claimed that the 12-year-old was reaching for the gun as they approached him. They were later cleared of any wrongdoing.
The incident sparked nationwide outrage, resulting in the child’s family filing a wrongful death lawsuit against both officers involved in the shooting, as well as the City of Cleveland.
This isn’t the first time Loehmann has been called out for his irrational behavior. In his previous job as a police officer in Independence, Ohio, he was deemed an “emotionally unstable recruit and unfit for duty.” Loehmann later resigned from his job with the Cleveland Police Department.
Cleveland NAACP President Mike Nelson spoke out on the matter involving the Facebook post, stating that anyone who makes hate-filled statements could be dangerous to the public.
“If he’s making these statements and making them boldly and publicly, then it’s setting a dangerous precedent, and it’s a cause for great concern. People of consciousness and good will are gonna have to become more visible and vocal to start drowning out the voices of intolerance.”
Last month, a similar issue surfaced when Matthew Cicero, a resource officer from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, posted comments online about Tamir Rice and his grieving mother, Samaria Rice. Cicero’s Facebook post, which has since been taken down, accused Tamir’s mother of wanting money. He also chided her for allowing her son to have a toy gun.
“Tamir rices momma just want money. Lets make the proper changes……raise your kids not to play with fake guns stupid b***h. All this media because the are not getting what they want…… Again pleeeeze anyone who does not like what I post…..unfriendly me or block me your not worth my time.”
The Facebook post landed Cicero in hot water with his employer. He was given a 30-day suspension for posting hateful comments. According to Cleveland Metropolitan School District spokeswoman Roseann Canfora, “While we respect every employee’s right to freedom of speech, with those rights comes a responsibility to do so in ways that are appropriate and sensitive to others, particularly to the people we serve.”
The wrongful death lawsuit for Tamir Rice is still ongoing. Marquardt hasn’t commented any further on the incident.
[Photo via Angelo Merendino/Getty Images]