It’s been eight years since the reckless and unwarranted police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and chances are his young soul is not resting in peace.
On July 5, Timothy Loehmann was welcomed back into law enforcement with the support and unanimous vote of Tioga’s borough council, Sun-Gazette reported. In the two-bit Pennsylvania town that is 99.4 percent white and roughly 300 miles from Cleveland, Ohio—where Loehmann shot and killed Rice within two seconds of arriving on the scene when responding to a 9-1-1 call—Loehmann was sworn in by Tioga borough mayor David Wilcox, The decision to employ Loehmann’s service came at a council meeting prior to his appointment. Allegedly, Wilcox was unaware of Loehmann’s flawed police history despite national attention.
A string of slights surround Tamir’s death.
In December 2020, Loehmann got off Scot-free when the Department of Justice refused to hold the officer accountable for his actions due to “insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges,” according to court documents. Then, back in January, the DOJ declined a request from Tamir’s mother Samaria Rice to reopen the case based on the same grounds. Subsequently, Loehmann was fired from Cleveland’s police force, however, it wasn’t taking Tamir’s young life but rather lying on his employment application. Loehmann was not forthcoming about his departure from another police department in Independence, Ohio where he was employed prior to working in Cleveland.
Adding insult to injury, the recent debacle isn’t the first time Loehmann was hired on a police force after taking Tamir’s life. The trigger-happy officer was hired to police in the Cleveland town of Bellaire in 2018, on a part-time basis. He rescinded his application in just five days when Samaria Rice and other concerned citizens discovered he was on the payroll and protested that appointment.
“I have accepted his withdrawal from the Bellaire police department,” Robert Flanagan, Bellaire police chief, shared with WKYC3. “The pressures of all of this. He’s been through enough the last couple years. He cared about the community here. He didn’t want no protests, no violence, nothing of that nature.”
Tamir Rice’s senseless death is undoubtedly the seedbed of protest and movements to Defund The Police, as it should be, especially as justice for Black lives are challenged with apologist attitudes and dismissive statements that suggests that a cop has been through so much more than say—a grieving mother.
State-sanctioned violence continues to go unchecked, particularly when African Americans bodies are at the receiving end. Thus, it’s no surprise that justice is rarely served when white policing leads to Black fatality. Thus, it is no surprise that twisted logic supports the many ways blue lives matter to racist governments far more than Black ones—if at all.
While Timothy Loehmann gets to lay low in white enclaves and be a gainfully employed cop, Samaria Rice continues to be a grieving mother and Tamir gets to roll in his grave.
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