Tamir Rice’s Uncle Calls For Change at Memorial, While Officer Who Killed Rice Had Poor Record With Guns
The great uncle of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old Black boy who was fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer, called for an end to “senseless shootings” at an emotional memorial service Wednesday morning.
Michael Petty told a gathering of at least 200 that they represent a voice for his nephew and that law enforcement needs to change how they train officers, according to MSNBC.
“Through us, Tamir will be heard from the grave. Through us, Tamir will prevent further senseless shootings. . . not only in Cleveland, but in this nation,” Petty said at the service.
Meanwhile, the officer who shot Rice had a poor documented history with handling guns, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Timothy Loehmann, the rookie officer who shot and killed Rice, elicited concerns at the Independence Police Department (IPD)—in Independence, Ohio, south of Cleveland—long before he was hired in March by Cleveland police.
A Nov. 29, 2012 letter in Loehmann’s personnel file from the IPD says that he was “distracted” and “weepy” during firearms qualification training, The Plain Dealer reported.
“He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal,” Deputy Chief Jim Polak of the Independence police wrote in the letter.
Polak concluded the letter by saying, “It just appears that he is not mature enough in his accepting of responsibility or his understanding in the severity of his loss of control on the [gun] range.”
His Cleveland personnel file shows someone marked a letter from Loehmann, stating that he resigned from Independence one day after graduating from the Cleveland Heights Police Academy, according to The Dealer. Polak’s number and Independence Police Chief Michael Kilbane’s name and number were written on the file as well.
The Independence file listed other troubling citations, including:
* Loehmann left his gun in an unlocked locker overnight after being instructed to lock his gun while off-duty.
* He lied about leaving an area where he was commanded to stay until supervisors arrived.
* He raised concerns in Independence because he spoke about leaving the department for other opportunities.
Loehmann was only at IPD for six months before he resigned on Dec. 3, 2012. Whether or not Cleveland officials saw IPD’s file on Loehmann is unknown, The Dealer said. He is currently under investigation by the Cleveland police department’s use of deadly force investigation team for the Nov. 22 shooting of Rice.