Timothy Loehmann, the 26-year-old Cleveland police officer who fatally gunned down 12-year-old Tamir Rice, admitted on his job application for the Cleveland Police Department that his primary source of income prior to his hiring was “under-the-table jobs,” ThinkProgress found after reviewing a public records request from the city’s Police Department.
Despite listing his primary source of income for six months prior to his application as “under-the-table jobs,” Loehmann was nevertheless hired for the law enforcement position in March 2013.
From July to December 2012, Loehmann worked as a full-time Patrolman for the City of Independence, Ohio. “Upon completion of the police academy, I received my OPOTA commission on December 4, 2012. I resigned from my position on December 5, 2012 for personal reasons,” Loehmann wrote in a March 12 statement detailing his work history.
However, documents from the Independence Police Department tell a different story — that the officer who shot and killed Rice for playing with a toy pistol had a flawed gun handling record himself, and that had he not formally resigned from his job he would have been dismissed.
In a November 2012 letter contained in Loehmann’s file, Independence Deputy Chief Jim Pulak recounted a disturbing series of events in which the young officer buckled under pressure, displayed startling emotional immaturity, and conducted the most basic functions of his job with apathy and carelessness. “He was not mentally prepared to do firearm training,” Pulak wrote, adding that during firearms qualification training Loehmann was “distracted and weepy. He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. After some talking it was clear to Sgt. Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training.”
Pulak attributes Loehmann’s emotional volatility to a turbulent relationship with his “on and off again girlfriend whom he was dealing with till 0400 hrs the night before. Some of the comments made by Ptl. Loehmann during this discourse were to the effect of, ‘I should have gone to NY,’ ‘maybe I should quit,’ ‘I have no friends,’ ‘I only hang out with 74 yr old priests,’ ‘I have cried every day for 4 months about this girl.’”
He concluded that Loehmann “does not possess the maturity, commitment, and discretion necessary to perform well as an officer and recommended that he be “released from the employment of the City of Independence. Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment…I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”
On March 3, the day of Loehmann’s hiring, he consented to a background check commissioned by the City of Cleveland. In a stunning lack of oversight, however, the Cleveland Police Department never reviewed Loehmann’s Independence personnel file before hiring him — though they did hire detectives to conduct the check. Loehmann was hired despite a sub-standard work history, acknowledgment of under-the-table jobs directly preceding his employment, and explicit red flags raised by former police officers.
In Loehmann’s personnel requisition, the Cleveland Police Department defines his position’s primary responsibilities: “Protect life and property. Enforces laws and ordinances. Prevents and detects crime. Acts without direct supervision and exercises independent judgment in meeting complex situations.”
ThinkProgress contacted the City of Independence Police Department for comment on Loehmann’s troubles but has not heard back.