The Police Officer Who Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Has Been Fired

But not for shooting a child playing with a toy gun.

Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City, November 2015.Andy Katz/Zuma Press

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The police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park in November 2014 has been fired, Cleveland’s police chief said at a press conference on Tuesday. The decision comes two and a half years after Rice was killed. Officer Timothy Loehmann was fired not for shooting Rice but for lying on his job application about his disciplinary record at a previous police department, according to the termination documents. (Another officer who had been on the scene of the shooting was suspended for 10 days.)

Loehmann, who started working for the Cleveland Police Department in early 2014, failed to disclose that although he voluntarily left his job at another department, he was allowed to resign after a series of incidents in which supervisors deemed him unfit for duty, according to Cleveland.com. He also did not disclose that he had failed a written exam for employment at a second police department.

Loehmann shot Rice after he and his partner responded to a 911 call about a person in a park waving a gun. His death became an early touchstone for the Black Lives Matter movement. Video of the shooting showed that Loehmann shot the child, who was holding a toy pellet gun, within two seconds of arriving on the scene. A grand jury declined to charge the officers involved.

A dispatcher who took the initial 911 call was suspended in March for failing to tell the responding officers that the caller had said the person with the gun might be a juvenile and that the gun could be fake. A June 2015 Mother Jones investigation revealed how that failure contributed to the child’s  death.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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