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The Cleveland Cop Who Shot 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Had a Shady Past

From his earliest days at the police academy, Tim Loehmann performed poorly.

Allie Conti

Allie Conti

Photo via Flickr user Perry Quan

The Cleveland cop who fatally shot a 12-year-old because the kid was holding an Airsoft gun last month should never have become a police officer, according to his own personnel file. Northeast Ohio Media Group ​reported Wednesday that Officer Timothy Loehmann was known at the academy as an emotional wreck who was terrible with a gun.

Loehmann worked as a cop in Independence, Ohio, before moving to the Cleveland Police. Now the Cleveland PD is ​saying they never bothered to check their applicant's record. If his bosses had checked, they would have seen a troubling pattern of clouded judgment—and possibly prevented a child's death by keeping him off the streets. 

From his earliest days at the Cleveland Heights Police Academy, Loehmann performed poorly. He would fall asleep in class. He showed up "sleepy and upset" for a gun qualification session and eventually had a meltdown during a training exercise. Independence Police Sergeant Greg Tinnirello said the officer couldn't follow simple instructions. Deputy Chief Jim Polak said he was immature. Ultimately, the Independence Police Department decided to part ways with the troubled wannabe.

So Loehmann transferred this March to Cleveland's Fourth District, which has the highest homicide rate in the city. "He loved the action," Loehmann's father would ​later explain.

On November 22, Loehmann got the action he was apparently craving—the chance to investigate someone who was potentially carrying a lethal weapon. But his encounter with Tamir Rice lasted less than two seconds and ended in Rice's ​tragic death. The 12-year-old, who was carrying a toy weapon with its orange tip removed,  was buried Wednesday​.

Loehmann hasn't been fired. But based on his personnel file, many are asking why he was ever given a badge and a gun in the first place.

Follow Allie Conti on ​Twitter.

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