Pennsylvania attorney general: Cleveland cop who shot Tamir Rice hired illegally

Published: Jul. 10, 2022 at 11:17 PM EDT

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The fallout from a small town’s hiring of the former Cleveland officer who killed Tamir Rice now has a stunning twist.

Timothy Loehmann took an oath as a police officer in a small rural community in Pennsylvania, then backed out one day later after a community protest.

Now, the state’s top cop says the town council broke the law during the hiring process.

19 News broke the story last week and has learned that not only has Loehmann resigned, but the town council president has now resigned, along with his wife, who is also a council member in Tioga, Pa.

A photo of Timothy Loehmann taking the oath to serve as Tioga’s lone police officer surfaced last week on social media and ignited a fury of comments.

“I thought it was a little weird right from the beginning,” Tioga’s Mayor David Wilcox told CBS affiliate WENY out of Elmira, New York and reporter Alexandra Deryn.

The hiring of Loehmann immediately triggered outrage in the rural Pennsylvania community outside of New York.

Citizens protested in the streets and put Loehmann on notice that he was not welcome in their town for killing a child who was in a park playing with a pellet gun.

Loehmann and another officer were called to Cuddell Park after a police dispatch call of a male pointing a pistol at people.

The dispatcher never told officers that the caller said the male may be a child and the gun was probably fake.

Loehmann withdrew his application the day after taking the oath and resigned, following outrage on social media and by Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice.

“He (Loehmann) is a bad apple for anybody’s police department across the country,” Rice said

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro sent a letter to Tioga’s Council President Steve Hazlett days later and made it it clear that Loehmann’s hiring was illegal.

Records showed that a background check was never performed when Loehmann was hired.

The mayor says he was told the new officer had been vetted.

“I was under the understanding through our police committee and our borough president that they did an extensive background check on him, and that everything checked out,” Mayor Wilcox said.

Attorney General Shapiro made it clear Tioga violated state law, it’s now unclear what action the state could take against Tioga Borough officials for unlawfully hiring Loehmann.

Tioga Borough Council President Steve Hazlett and his wife Marybeth, also a council member, both resigned after receiving the attorney general’s letter.

The mayor confirmed to CBS affiliate WENY that he swore in who he thought was Timothy Lochmann, not Timothy Loehmann.

“That information was being withheld from myself and three other council members,” he said.

The question still remains if Loehmann falsified this application or if the council concealed it.

“Oh, I’m extremely upset over this,” the mayor said.

This story is ongoing and will be updated as more details are released.

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