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Officers involved in shooting death of Tamir Rice face administrative charges

Posted: 5:28 PM, Jan 13, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-14 03:21:44Z

The officers involved in the shooting death of Tamir Rice will face administrative charges and hearings before Cleveland officials more than two years after the fatal incident at a city recreation center. 

During a last-minute press conference at city hall, Chief Calvin Williams, who was flanked by Mayor Frank Jackson and other city officials, said the administrative investigation against the officers involved in the death of Rice has been completed and hearings are to be held soon. 

Rice, 12, was shot and killed November 22, 2014, by officer Timothy Loehmann moments after he and officer Frank Garmback arrived at the Cudell Recreation Center. William Cunningham II was working at the center at the time of the shooting. 

A grand jury refused to file any criminal charges against Loehmann and Garmback in December 2015. The officers were under an administrative investigation following the grand jury announcement. 

FULL COVERAGE:  Tamir¬†Rice

City officials have 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, according to documents released by the city. Loehmann faces six charges, but none are in response to the November 2014 shooting of Rice. 

Garmback  did not employ proper tactics when he operated the patrol car the day Rice was shot, the documents said. He is also charged with failing to report his arrival time to radio dispatchers immediately upon his arrival to the recreation center. 

Cunningham is charged with working at the recreation without permission and signing an untruthful form to report the incident between the police officers and Rice. 

Two of the officers will go before Safety Director Michael McGrath and face a 10-day suspension to termination. 

Only one of the officers will go before Williams for an alleged rule violation. It is possible the officer won't be disciplined longer than a 10-day suspension.  

All three officers are scheduled for a pre-disciplinary conference on Jan. 30. 

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis released a statement following the announcement of charges: 

The CPPA is encouraged that Officer Loehmann has not been charged with any wrongdoing regarding his response to the events of November 22, 2014. There is no question, and there has never been, that the death of Tamir Rice was tragic. Nevertheless, all agree that Officer Loehmann was not wrong in reacting the way he did. It appears that the actual charges are created to discipline him, and perhaps discharge him, despite the fact that he did nothing wrong that day.
 
It is disappointing that Officer Garmback has been charged with making a tactical error on his approach, when it is apparent that the car slid in the ice and mud well beyond what he intended. Given the speed and gravity of the events on that day, it is hard to imagine that Officer Garmback has been charged with failure to notify the radio dispatcher "immediately."
 
We are reviewing the charges in detail and will prepare appropriate defenses, as necessary.
 
The decision to charge the officers is more than two years after the fatal incident under a gazebo at the recreation center. Rice's death was of many high profiled case across the United States that highlighted race relations between police officers and communities of color. The death of Rice ignited local and national protest. 

Wiliams said the investigation took so long because the department wanted to make a "deep dive" into what actually happened. 

The city of Cleveland and Rice's family agreed to a $6 million settlement last year. 

Earlier this month, Subodh Chandra, a lawyer for Rice's mother, Samaria, criticized Williams for failing to announce the findings of the administrative investigation. 

"The Rice family has waited over two years too long for you and the City to announce your decision," the letter said. "In the meantime, both officers continue to enjoy taxpayer-funded salaries after killing a child while flouting standard police policies and procedures. To the family, it looks like the objective is to increase the chance that the community will forget the need for accountability and answers."

Chandra said he and Samaria were not notified of Friday's press conference and they are very upset. They held a press conference a few short hours later.