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Tamir Rice's mother fights to keep former officer who fatally shot son from getting job back

"He was, and remains, unfit to serve as a police officer, in Cleveland — or anywhere else," Samaria Rice said in court documents.
Samaria Rice on Jan. 24, 2018.
Samaria Rice in 2018.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

The mother of Tamir Rice, the Black 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by Cleveland police, is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to block the former officer's attempt to get his job back.

Rice was shot and killed in November 2014 outside the Cudell Recreation Center by then Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann after police received a call about someone pointing a gun at people.

The caller had told the dispatcher that the gun looked fake, but that information was never relayed to Loehmann or his partner, Frank Garmback.

Video footage of the fatal encounter showed Loehmann, who is white, fired at Rice within seconds of getting out of his squad car. Rice died the following morning at a Cleveland hospital.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against Loehmann, who had been with the Cleveland police department for less than a year at the time of the shooting.

Image: Tamir Rice
Tamir Rice.Family photo

He was fired by the department in May 2017, but not for killing Rice. The police department said it let Loehmann go because he had lied on his job application and failed to disclose that he had been dismissed from the Independence Police Department in Ohio after they had deemed him unfit to serve.

After his firing, lawyers for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association argued that Loehmann was wrongfully terminated and filed a grievance challenging the termination.

Loehmann filed an appeal last month with the state Supreme Court in an attempt to get his job back.

Attorneys for Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, filed an amicus brief on Monday saying that Loehmann should never again be trusted with a badge and a gun.

"Ms. Rice strongly opposes any decision that could potentially lead to her son’s killer to be reinstated to his former job as a police officer," the court document states.

"Officer Loehmann shot 12-year-old Tamir without waiting even a second to process the situation or consider the devastating consequences of his actions. Loehmann’s callous conduct in the aftermath of the shooting only exacerbated the pain he caused. His sense of entitlement after not just killing a child but lying to become a police officer should not be rewarded. He was, and remains, unfit to serve as a police officer, in Cleveland — or anywhere else."

Samaria Rice said in a statement to NBC affiliate WKYC in Cleveland that Loehmann cannot be trusted.

"I hope that the Supreme Court does not give him a chance to get back his job," she said. "The fact that the Cleveland police union is still trying to get him his job despite him killing my child and lying on his application to become a police officer shows you just how immoral that organization's leadership is."

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.

Association attorney Henry Hilow told WKYC that the "issues raised in the amicus brief are not the issues being considered by the Supreme Court."