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Timothy Loehmann's Legal Fight To Return To Cleveland Police Has Ended

Activists continue to campaign for criminal or civil rights charges against Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland officer who killed Tamir Rice. A march earlier this year ended at the federal courthouse in Cleveland, where demonstrators called on the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen a civil rights investigation into the killing. [Matthew Richmond / Ideastream Public Media]
Demonstrators hold a green Justice for Tamir sign on a Cleveland city street

The Cleveland police union’s years long pursuit to get Timothy Loehmann his job back has come to an end.

On Tuesday morning, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear the union’s appeal of a lower court decision in favor of the city. Arguments to overturn Loehmann’s firing on the grounds that he lied on his employment application were never considered in court.

Instead, the case was dismissed by lower courts because the union did not file paperwork seeking to reinstate Loehmann with the city’s attorney within the three month window required by law.

Loehmann was in his first year as a Cleveland police officer in 2014 when he shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice at Cudell Recreation Center. He was never charged for killing Rice.

The city fired Loehmann in 2017. Internal reviews cleared Loehmann for firing his weapon. But he was cited for not disclosing in his application that  he would have been terminated from a previous police job had he not resigned.

Officer Frank Garmback, who was driving the patrol car when Rice was killed, was suspended for 10 days for violating policy in the approach to the scene.

In 2018, the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association announced they would appeal the outside arbitrator’s decision confirming Loehmann’s firing.

Their case was first dismissed in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas because the union failed to alert an outside attorney for the city of their plans to appeal the arbitrator’s decision.

The court of appeals upheld that decision in March, and Tuesday the Supreme Court declined to hear the union’s appeal of the decision to dismiss the case.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer at Ideastream Public Media who focuses on criminal justice.