Cleveland police union takes fight to reinstate cop who killed Tamir Rice to Ohio Supreme Court

 The union representing rank-and-file Cleveland police officers wants the Ohio Supreme Court to revive its challenge to the firing of Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Tamir Rice in 2014, after an appeals court thwarted the effort last month.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association on Friday appealed the 8th District Court of Appeals’ holding on March 11 that the union failed to properly serve the attorneys for the city of Cleveland with court filings, when it challenged an arbitrator’s decision upholding Loehmann’s firing for lying on his application to become a police officer.

A unanimous three-judge panel upheld a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge’s decision that the mistake left the union unable to appeal Loehmann’s firing.

Lawyers for the union on Friday argued that they did properly serve the city with notice of its appeal. They asked the Ohio Supreme Court to send the case back to the appeals court and force the court to rule on the substance of their arguments that Loehman’s firing violated the union’s collective bargaining contract and amounted to excessive discipline.

The filing called the legal battle over Loehmann’s firing an “unfortunately and unfairly political influenced process at all levels.”

“We just want the merits heard,” the union’s president, Jeff Follmer, said in a Monday phone interview.

Tamir’s mother Samaria Rice issued a statement through her attorney in which she slammed the union’s latest effort to bring Loehmann back to the police force.

“The police union should be ashamed of itself for still trying to put a dangerous police officer back on the street,” the statement said. “Every time they try to do this, they hurt my family and put the public at risk.”

The move came days after Samaria Rice and her attorneys sent a letter demanding President Joe Biden’s Justice Department re-open the federal civil rights investigation into her son’s death that former President Donald Trump’s DOJ let languish for years and then closed without bringing charges after Trump lost his re-election. Four Ohio lawmakers last week signed onto the effort.

Loehmann shot Tamir on Nov. 22, 2014, as the 12-year-old boy played with a BB gun in a city park outside Cudell Recreation Center. A 911 caller reported that a “guy with a gun” was pointing it at people outside the rec center. Loehmann, who was six months into his job, was partnered with more experienced patrol officer Frank Garmback as part of the department’s field training program. Garmback drove a police car up into the grass next to the gazebo where Tamir sat. The boy approached the skidding car, lifted his jacket and Loehmann jumped out of the car and shot him in the stomach in less than one second. Tamir was rushed to a hospital where he died early the next morning.

A 14-month investigation ended in December 2015 with a grand jury declining to bring charges against Loehmann. Then-Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty lost his re-election bid to current Prosecutor Michael O’Malley in part due to the community’s dissatisfaction with his handling of the probe.

The city of Cleveland paid the boy’s estate more than $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit that his mother, Samaria Rice, filed.

The city fired Loehmann not for the shooting, but for lying on his application with Cleveland police. Loehmann wrote that he left his job at Independence police department because he wanted to join a busier police department, when in reality his supervisors asked him to resign after seeing his poor performance on the shooting range.

The union filed a grievance over Loehmann’s firing, and an arbitrator upheld the city’s decision to fire him. The union appealed the decision to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, where Judge Joseph D. Russo ruled in favor of the city.

The union’s attorneys appealed to the 8th District, but served their notice of appeal to the city’s law department instead of the private law firm the city hired to represent it in defending Loehmann’s firing. The 8th District Court of Appeals held last month that it did not have authority to take up the appeal because the union failed to follow the proper procedure, leaving Russo’s decision in place.

The union asked the Ohio Supreme Court to take up the case and hold that people suing a municipality that contracted with a private law firm to represent it should still be able to serve the municipality’s law department with notice of court filings and satisfy procedural rules.

Such a ruling would send the case back to the three-judge panel at the 8th District where the judges would have to issue a new ruling in the case.

“[The union] has worked tirelessly to prepare valid and comprehensive arguments with regards to this unfortunately politically influenced process and deserves appellate process to review the merits of this matter,” the filing reads. “This matter involves an issue that has received global attention and that has been debated and discussed in all levels of our society for approximately the past eight years.”

Samaria Rice’s attorney, Subodh Chandra, accused the union of seeking special treatment by asking the state’s high court to let their appeal to continue.

“Their relentless campaign to foist upon the public an officer who slew a child shows you just how little credibility they have left—and how shameless they are in their persecution of the Rice family,” Chandra said.


Cleveland police union takes fight to reinstate cop who killed Tamir Rice to Ohio Supreme Court Cleveland police union takes fight to reinstate cop who killed Tamir Rice to Ohio Supreme Court Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:28 Rating: 5

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