Cop Gets 'Paid Vacation' After Taking to Facebook to Attack Mother of Child Murdered by Police
Matt Cicero, a “mobile patrol officer” employed in the Cleveland school district where Tamir Rice was a student has been placed on paid vacation (officially called administrative leave) after publishing a Facebook post in which he denigrated the victim of a police killing, insulted his grieving mother, criticized the family’s decision to pursue a lawsuit, and most seriously, expressed a clear intent to kill other children should he find himself in similar circumstances.
Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing in a park with a plastic pellet gun resembling an authentic weapon, was killed by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann within seconds of the officer’s arrival on the scene. Loehmann and his partner responded to a 911 report of what appeared to be a gun-toting male of indeterminate age, although the caller specified that the apparent weapon was “probably” a toy.
Cuyahoga County District Attorney Timothy McGinty referred the Tamir Rice shooting to a grand jury, but rather than seeking an indictment he conducted a mini-trial in which he acted as both prosecutor and defense attorney for Loehmann. The grand jury declined to indict Rice’s killer. In the December 29 press conference announcing the grand jury decision, McGinty insisted that “the plus side of this tragic event” is that “there have been lessons learned already in this case…. And it should never happen again.”
According to Officer Matt Cicero, the only relevant “lesson” in the Tamir Rice killing is that police officers have an unqualified right to kill anybody they perceive as a threat. He posted the following on Facebook:
Responding to a comment that a child playing with a toy gun shouldn’t “become a solid platform for the death penalty,” Cicero wrote: “You pull out a gun you get shot."
A reporter for Cleveland’s ABC affiliate confronted Lester Fultz, chief of safety and security for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, about Cicero’s Facebook comments, but was unable to elicit a response. Shortly thereafter, Cicero was placed on administrative leave
“The comments posted are particularly insensitive, considering that Officer Cicero works for the school district that served Tamir Rice and his family,” school district CEO Eric Gordon said. “Even as we grieve the tragic loss of this child to his family and to our entire school community, we are mindful of the very difficult job of our safety forces in our schools and our communities. Neither our citizens nor those who police our communities should be painted with a broad brush, and I don’t believe we will ever find solutions to such complex issues through Facebook posts—especially posts that further divide us.”