Personnel File Reveals Cleveland Officer Who Shot and Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Had a Troubling History

Human Rights

The personnel file of Tim Loehmann, the officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, reveals some troubling details about his performance as an officer for the Independence Police Department in Ohio.


In the file, a letter penned by Deputy Chief of the Independence Police Jim Polak urges the department to remove Loehmann. As Cleveland.com reports, Polak wrote: "He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal … I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct the deficiencies." 

The five-page letter is part of Loehmann’s 60-page personnel file that was released this week. Cleveland.com reported:

"According to a written report from Independence Police Sgt. Greg Tinnirello. … The problems at Independence erupted on Nov. 28, 2012, the records say. Loehmann showed up "sleepy and upset" for a 6 a.m. state gun qualification session. Tinnierello wrote that Loehmann "was distracted and was not following simple instructions" at the shooting range. At one point, he went to the back of the range to reload his magazine and could not return to the line where he was supposed to shoot from, Tinnierello wrote. Loehmann appeared to be crying and was emotionally upset so Tinnierello said they would stop the exercise for the day."

Loehmann ultimately resigned from the police department in Independence, a small suburban town, and sought getting hired for the city of Cleveland. Cleveland.com stated: “Loehmann's father said that his son left Independence to pursue a job with Cleveland police because he wanted ‘more action.’”

The Cleveland Police Department hired Loehmann in March, and have admitted that he didn’t review his personnel file, raising larger questions on police hiring and transfer practices. On Wednesday, they updated their hiring policies to ensure that is a requirement going forward.

On Nov. 22, Loehmann shot Rice at point blank range within seconds of arriving on the scene. An analysis of surveillance footage found that the police waited four minutes to administer first aid. Rice later died at the hospital. According to police, a 911 caller reported an armed person waving a gun in a playground, adding that the gun was probably fake. This information allegedly wasn't relayed to the responding officers. 

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