Cleveland Police Union To Appeal Decision On Timothy Loehmann's Firing
An arbitrator has upheld the City of Cleveland's decision to fire police officer Timothy Loehmann, but the police union promises to appeal that decision.
In a ruling released by the city Wednesday, arbitrator James Rimmel said Loehmann's dismissal was justified because he omitted key details about the end of his employment with the Independence Police Department, notably that he would have been terminated had he not been allowed to resign.
Loehmann is the officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014, but the shooting was not part of the arbitrator's decision or of the city's decision to fire him.
“What strikes me as disconcerting is that even when afforded the opportunity to explain the reasons for his departure, he remained evasive and not forthcoming,” Rimmel wrote.
At a midday press conference, Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeff Follmer blasted Rimmel's decision.
“The ruling here is unfair, it's incorrect and we are going to appeal it,” Follmer said. “When you appeal, it goes up to the county courts, and hopefully you find a judge that can read things, go through all the information we have and get to the facts of this.”
Rimmel wrote that his decision, “is neither influenced nor impacted by public opinion, perceived 'political correctness' from either side of the spectrum, the media’s interpretation of events, or the opinions, thoughts or beliefs of any individual, their representatives or any other third party.”
Follmer strongly disagreed: “We call complete (expletive).”
He and other union leaders have long maintained that although the city's investigation ruled that Tamir's shooting was accidental and violated no police procedures, the Jackson administration was determined to fire Loehmann anyway.
“So when there's nothing criminal, what do we do? This is what the city does,” Follmer said. “They go back to the administrative part of how they can get to these officers and look for little things to mess up on the officer.”
Three violations, or specifications, cited by the city in its decision to fire Loehmann were dismissed by Rimmel, while three were upheld.
Tamir's mother, Samaria Rice, has said she hopes Loehmann won't work as a police officer again. Loehmann was set to be hired by the Bellaire Police Department in October, but withdrew his application.
Loehmann had been a Cleveland officer for less than eight months when he shot and killed Tamir Rice outside the Cudell Recreation Center.