Timothy Loehmann wanted to be a police officer like his father. He got a job in Independence, Ohio, but it didn’t go well. His supervisors allowed him to quit after he suffered a “dangerous lack of composure” during firearms training. The department concluded he would “not be able to cope or make good decisions” under stress. The deputy chief wrote Loehmann “could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal,” according to the Associated Press.
Cleveland Police did not check on Loehmann’s history in Independence before hiring him, the story continues. And Ohio law required a felony before an officer would lose his badge. So it was Loehmann who responded in the fall of 2014 to the Cleveland park where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was playing with what turned out to be a toy gun. Loehmann shot him dead.
The Cleveland department’s failure to check on Loehmann’s background is an example of one of the biggest roadblocks to police accountability – “wandering cops” who lose their jobs in one place only to be rehired and to engage in misconduct in another, the AP story says.