CLEVELAND — Thursday marks what would have been Tamir Rice’s 18th birthday. Instead of a birthday party, his family will be holding an event for area youth in his honor.
Tamir was 12 years old when he was shot and killed by Cleveland police while he was playing with a toy gun outside the Cudell Recreation Center. He was shot by ex-Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann on Nov. 22, 2014 within seconds of the officer's arrival outside the recreation center.
A grand jury declined to indict Loehmann. He was fired in 2017, over two years after the shooting, when it was discovered he was previously deemed “unfit for duty.” He was not fired for the shooting, but rather for lying on his application and violating other administrative policies.
City officials charged Loehmann for failing to provide truthful information on his employment application regarding disciplinary actions, information surrounding his departure from a previous police department and failing a test in May 2013.
Earlier this year, Loehmann was hired as an officer in the village of Bellaire, Ohio, but he withdrew his application shortly after the news reported on the hire.
This year marks the sixth anniversary since Tamir’s death.
Ohio State Rep. Juanita Brent issued a statement about Tamir on what would have been his 18th birthday.
“Tamir should be here to celebrate his 18th birthday. In the six years since his passing, we still lack police reform to prevent this from happening to someone else’s son,” Rep. Brent said. “We, as the General Assembly, must take action and not just remember. Police officer training is insufficient when it comes to dealing with noncriminal behavior. There has to be a focus on de-escalation, implicit bias, racial equity and cultural competence training that is utilized when interacting with the public.”
Tamir’s family will host a “grab bag giveaway” to children in Cleveland in honor of his birthday.
The event will be held in the Saint Martin de Porres High school parking lot on Saturday, June 27 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. and is required to attend the event. Social distancing will be implemented, according to the Tamir Rice Foundation.
Tamir's death has been used as a prominent example during the recent police violence and racial injustice protests that have swept the nation.