Officers to face administrative charges, family of Tamir Rice responds

Officers to face administrative charges, family of Tamir Rice responds
Three Cleveland Police officers face administrative charges in Tamir Rice's death. (Source: WOIO)
Three Cleveland Police officers face administrative charges in Tamir Rice's death. (Source: WOIO)

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland city officials have announced administrative charges for the officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

The officers named by the city Friday are Tim Loehmann, Frank Garmback and Will Cunningham.

Garmback and Loehmann were involved with the shooting death of Tamir Rice. Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police on Cudell Rec Center's playground on the west side of Cleveland in Nov. 2014. Cunningham was one of the officers on scene. He handcuffed Rice's sister and placed her in the back of a police vehicle.

Loehmann, the officer who shot Tamir Rice, faces administrative charges for falsifying his employment application to Cleveland Police. The city says he did not include that he was previously forced to resign his Independence Police job and he had failed a written police exam.

Garmback, the officer who was driving the patrol car the day of the shooting, faces administrative charges for "not employing proper tactics" when he drove his car up too close to Tamir Rice. The city says he also failed to report his arrival time on scene to dispatchers.

Cunningham faces administrative charges for working a second job at Cudell Rec Center without permission from police and for submitting an "untruthful report"  on use of deadly force.

The officers involved do not face criminal charges in the teen's death, though Rice's family has been hoping they will face punishment in another way -- by losing their jobs.

The teen's mother, Samaria, and her lawyer Subodh Chandra said they were disappointed the city of Cleveland did not contact them with the update on the administrative charges. They also said it sends a message of disrespect when they "buried" the last minute press conference on a Friday night. Chandra says they are "mildly encouraged" by the fact the city is trying to hold Officer Loehmann accountable for alleged false statements on his police employment application.

But Chandra says that still does not solve the question Samaria has been asking for over two years -- how can someone like this become a police officer?

"These charges are disappointing, insufficient, and regrettably the family also has little confidence the administration will properly pursue these charges and that the charges will stick," Chandra said.

"It's just taking too long. He has a duty to follow, protocol and procedures and I just don't think he has done a great job of it, Mayor Jackson," Rice said. "But we have good and bad days, living in the city of Cleveland with no accountability."

The city says a fourth officer is expected to get a charging letter, too.

All officers will have a pre-disciplinary hearing conference in front of the director of public safety Jan. 30.

The Rice family's attorney released a letter earlier this month requesting the city terminate Loehmann and Garmback. The attorney also asked for an explanation as to why it's taking so long to "announce such accountability."

"Loehmann and Garmback's aggressive tactics were contrary to normal, proper police practice," the letter states.

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