When Officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice on November 22, an immediate coverup of his misconduct began. At least five lies
have already been uncovered, but the latest suggests the entire Cleveland Police Department is in on it.
The Sunday after Tamir Rice was killed, Cleveland Police held a press conference in which they displayed the toy air pistol they say was possessed by Tamir Rice. In this press conference, Detective Jennifer Ciaccia, who also serves as a spokesperson for the department, emphasized that the "orange tip" of the gun was missing and that the "the police learned the gun was fake after the shooting."
The thing, is, though, the police never even saw Tamir Rice brandish or point the pistol at them to determine if the orange cap was actually missing or not. When Detective Ciaccia made the repeated statements that the orange cap was missing, she did so in an effort to bolster the claim that the police had no choice but to fire because they saw the weapon, couldn't determine with their eyes that it was a fake, and acted on instincts to protect themselves. This simply is not true.
As you will see from the video below the fold, when the police pulled up on Tamir Rice, they shoot him in less than two seconds. In that encounter, the gun is never drawn for them to see the missing cap one way or the other.
Now, we learn that Officer Timothy Loehmann was actually declared unfit for duty before he transferred to the Cleveland Police Department. In an excellent report from Tom McCarthy from The Guardian, we learn damning details about Officer Loehmann:
“During a state range qualification course, Ptl Loehmann was distracted and weepy,” Polak wrote, naming the trainer as Sgt Tinnirello. “[Loehmann] could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. Sgt Tinnirello tried to work through this with Ptl Loehmann by giving him some time. But, after some talking it was clear to Sgt Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training.
In recommending Loehmann’s dismissal, Polak listed what he said were other performance shortcomings, including Loehmann’s having left his gun unlocked, lied to supervisors and failed to follow orders.
“Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment,” Polak concludes. “For these reasons, I am recommending he be released from the employment of the city of Independence. I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”