Police Chief Calvin Williams said the decision to terminate Loehmann came after the department’s critical-incident committee reviewed the shooting. Starting Wednesday, Frank Garmback, the officer who was driving at the time at the time of the incident, will be suspended for 10 days.
Loehmann was still in his probationary period when he shot Rice, as he had only been on the force for eight months. He was originally suspended following the incident, as his approach violated tactical regulations.
Williams said, "I think we’ve learned a lot from this incident and other incidents that have happened since 2014 … I think our officers have learned that there are best approaches to incidents and with the training that they are receiving, to bolster the training they’ve had in the past, hopefully we won’t have any more incidents like this."
On November 23, 2014, Garmback and Loehmann responded to call about a man waving a gun at a nearby park, which turned out to be Rice playing with a pellet gun. The pre-teen’s death, which happened within seconds of the officers’ arrival, was caught on camera.
Nationwide protests ensued after Rice’s death, as activists saw the shooting as part of a continuum of extrajudicial killings of African-Americans that brought almost no punishment down on officers. Rice’s killing came on the heels of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who were also killed by police.
Loehmann’s removal comes a year after the city settled a civil lawsuit with Rice’s family for $6 million.
Considered a hefty sum for such a suit, David Graham of the Atlantic wrote at the time, "The size of the settlement may reflect in part the circumstances of Rice’s death. Video of an unarmed black boy being gunned down by police just seconds after they arrived on the scene sparked national horror … The officers on the scene, Loehmann and Frank Garmback, hadn’t delivered first aid, a role left to an FBI officer who happened to be nearby. Rice’s sister was kept from running to her wounded brother."
Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Stephen Loomis called the move a "politically motivated witch hunt," saying there’s no proof of Loehmann falsifying his application. "There is no question in my mind that we're going to get Tim Loehmann's job back," he told CNN.
Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, said in a statement, "I am relieved Loehmann has been fired because he should never have been a police officer in the first place – but he should have been fired for shooting my son in less than one second, not just for lying on his application … And Garmback should be fired too, for his role in pulling up too close to Tamir."
The statement added that the nature of Loehmann’s firing "only added insult to the pain and grief."