Flanagan: Loehmann has withdrawn application in Bellaire

BELLAIRE — The former Cleveland police officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice has withdrawn his application for employment with the Bellaire Police Department.

Bellaire Police Chief Richard “Dick” Flanagan confirmed today that Timothy Loehmann had decided to focus on his “legal situation” in the Cleveland area rather than seeking employment with the Bellaire department. He said Loehmann expressed that he was grateful for the opportunity Flanagan had given him, but that he didn’t want to bring “any problems or shame on the community.”

“I think he had done the right thing,” Flanagan said of Loehmann’s decision to step aside.

Flanagan said last week that he had hired Loehmann as a part-time officer for the village. He also had employed Eric Smith, the suspended police chief of the Bethesda Police Department, as a part-time officer. Flanagan said Monday, though, that Smith is no longer with the department.

Loehmann killed 12-year-old Rice, who was later found to be carrying a pellet gun, in 2014. A Cuyahoga County grand jury did not indict Loehmann for the shooting. However, Cleveland Police Department eventually fired Loehmann because he allegedly omitted information from his employment application. Before joining Cleveland, Loehmann was forced to resign as an officer with the police department in Independence, Ohio, where his supervisor said he was not fit to be an officer. He also failed an entrance exam when he applied to be an officer for the department in Maple Heights, Ohio. Loehmann did not include either of those events in his application with Cleveland, officials have said.

Loehmann is fighting his termination in Cleveland.

Flanagan has said he hired both Loehmann and Smith because he believes everyone deserves a second chance.