Cleveland Police Dispatcher Given Suspension in Tamir Rice Killing

Mar 16, 2017

Two and a half years after 12-year-old Cleveland resident Tamir Rice was gunned down by police while he was playing with a pellet gun in a park, the police department has imposed an eight-day suspension on dispatcher Constance Hollinger, who handled the 911 call that led to the deadly encounter.

Chief Calvin Williams says that Hollinger violated department protocol by not informing the responding officers that the caller had said the figure supposedly pointing a gun at people was a juvenile, and that the gun he was carrying could be “fake.” Rice was fatally shot within seconds of the police cruiser arriving on the scene. The youngster was given no time to comply with an order to drop the pellet gun.

The officer who fired the fatal shots, Timothy Loehmann, had been fired by a police department in Independence, a smaller suburb, prior to being hired by the Cleveland PD. His supervisor found him to be emotionally unsuited for law enforcement, and to be incompetent in the handling of firearms. He has received a disciplinary letter for failing to disclose the circumstances of his termination from the Independence Police Department.

Neither Loehmann nor his partner, Frank Garmback, has been criminally charged, and both of them are still employed by the department. Last year, Cleveland taxpayers were compelled to underwrite a $6 million payout to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Tamir Rice’s parents.