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  • White Sulphur Springs Hires Controversial Officer Timothy Loehmann

    The White Sulphur Springs Police Department recently hired Timothy Loehmann, sparking significant public controversy. Loehmann is widely known for his involvement in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, in November 2014. This incident has been a focal point in discussions about police use of force and accountability.

    On November 22, 2014, a 911 caller reported a person wielding a gun at a Cleveland park. The caller mentioned that the gun was "probably fake," but this crucial detail was not relayed to the responding officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. Upon arriving at the scene, Loehmann exited the still-moving patrol car and shot Rice within seconds. The entire interaction lasted less than two seconds. The toy gun Tamir was holding resembled a real firearm, which led to the tragic misunderstanding.

    The surveillance video, which lacks audio, shows Tamir pacing and extending his arm before being shot. Expert analyses have debated whether Rice was reaching for his waistband or making another movement when Loehmann fired. Despite conflicting reports, a grand jury declined to indict Loehmann and Garmback in 2015. Criticism of Loehmann's actions has persisted, with some defending his split-second decision-making under perceived threat, while others argue the response was excessively aggressive and poorly handled.

    Loehmann's law enforcement career has been tumultuous. Before joining the Cleveland police, he was employed briefly by the Independence, Ohio, Police Department, where he was deemed emotionally unfit for duty. This assessment was not reviewed by Cleveland authorities prior to his hiring. In 2017, Loehmann was fired from the Cleveland Police Department, not for the Rice shooting but for inaccuracies in his job application regarding his previous employment.

    City Administrator Linda Coleman confirmed Loehmann's hiring in White Sulphur Springs. She stated that he completed the required training courses with the West Virginia State Police and is now an active officer with the department.

    For further details on the original report by The RealWV, visit https://therealwv.com/2024/06/27/white-sulphur-hires-timothy-loehmann-officer-involved-in-fatal-shooting-of-12-year-old/.

    Public reaction to Loehmann's hiring has been mixed, reflecting the broader debates about police practices and accountability. Some see his hiring as a second chance for a man who acted under extreme pressure, while others view it as an unacceptable decision given his past actions and the controversy surrounding the Rice case.

    The case of Tamir Rice remains a poignant example of the complex challenges in law enforcement and community relations. It underscores the need for thorough vetting of police officers and transparent communication to prevent such tragedies.

    Update 7-1-24: Officer resigns from the White Sulfur Springs Police Department


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