Police supervisors at a prior job of a Cleveland, Ohio, officer—who last month shot and killed a 12-year-old Black child holding a toy gun—feared he would fail to follow instructions under certain circumstances.
A letter in Tim Loehmann’s file said there was a pattern of a lack of discretion and of not following instructions.
“In law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed,” the letter states.
The 26-year-old officer made national headlines on Nov. 22 after he gunned down Tamir Rice (pictured), 12, shortly upon exiting his police car in response to a call about a boy on a playground pointing a “fake” gun at passers-by, according to video released by police. Investigators claim the officer thought the child was reaching for a real gun.
The news comes as the nation is reeling after a grand jury in Staten Island, N.Y. refused to indict White officer Daniel Panteleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, erupting protests across around the country over police violence against Blacks. Just last week in Ferguson, Mo., another grand jury declined to indict another White officer, Darren Wilson, in the shooting death of Michael Brown, who was Black and unarmed.
In Cleveland, Loehmann joined the department in March after spending six months in 2012 with the police department in suburban Independence, Ohio.
Personnel files released Wednesday showed police supervisors in Independence decided he lacked the maturity needed to work in their department. A letter in his file said there was a pattern of a lack of discretion and of not following instructions.
Loehmann resigned from the Independence police department in December 2012 after meeting his supervisors about their concerns.
Cleveland police said in a statement Wednesday night that the agency did not review Loehmann’s department personnel from Independence before hiring him.
However, detectives talked to the human resources director in that suburb and were told there were no issues that would make him an undesirable candidate. The detectives were told Loehmann had resigned from the Independence department for personal reasons.
A grand jury will consider whether charges are merited.
Just days after the shooting, protesters marched past City Hall and temporarily blocked rush-hour traffic on a busy Cleveland freeway.
Several hundred people attended the memorial service for Tamir at Mount Sinai Baptist Church.
Family members and friends, some wearing shirts with Tamir’s picture, filed past displays of photos at the front of the church and stopped to hug his mother.
One of his former teachers said Tamir liked to draw, play basketball and the drums.