Netflix’s ‘137 Shots’ highlights the issue of police shootings in Cleveland, Ohio, and questions the racial aspect of many of these incidents. The creators chronicle one such event in Cleveland, leading to plenty of public outcry in its aftermath. In November 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was the victim of a police shooting at a local recreation center. However, the officer who pulled the trigger, Timothy Loehmann, was never criminally charged in relation to the incident. So, if you’re wondering what happened to him since then, here’s what we know.
Who is Timothy Loehmann?
At around 3:30 PM on November 22, 2014, officers Timothy Loehmann, 26, and Frank Garmback, 46, responded to reports of someone waving a gun around at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland. At the time, a witness called 911 to state that a possible juvenile was pointing a gun at people, scaring them. The caller mentioned thinking that the gun was probably fake. Surveillance footage captured what happened that afternoon.
Tamir Rice was seen on the sidewalk of the recreation center playing with what looked like a gun. At around 3:30 PM, a police cruiser drove onto the grassy part of the park while Tamir was by a gazebo. Within seconds, Timothy got out of the car, and then Tamir went down. Timothy, who had been with the Cleveland Police Department since March 2014, fired twice, hitting Tamir once in the torso. He died the next day at a local hospital. It was later revealed that the gun Tamir had was a non-lethal airsoft pellet gun without the orange safety feature.
Once the footage was released, there were questions regarding how Tamir was shot within seconds of the officers arriving. At the time, it was reported that Timothy and Frank did not know that Tamir was 12 years old and that the gun was possibly fake because the dispatcher didn’t relay that information to them. Timothy stated that he believed Tamir was reaching for a weapon when they arrived. He said, “The suspect lifted his shirt, reached down into his waistband. We continued to yell, ‘show me your hands.’ I was focused on the suspect. Even when he was reaching into his waistband, I didn’t fire. I still was yelling the command ‘show me your hands.'”
However, Frank stated that he remembered the car windows being rolled up as they got to where Tamir was. Furthermore, Timothy’s personnel records that were released after the shooting showed that he had issues during his stint with the Independence Police Department in Ohio. He was in the process of being fired before he resigned in December 2012. Timothy’s supervisors described him as emotionally unstable with an “inability to perform basic functions as instructed” during a weapons training exercise. The Cleveland Police Department admitted to not looking into Timothy’s personnel file during the background check.
Where is Timothy Loehmann Now?
In December 2015, a grand jury chose not to indict Timothy and Frank in relation to Tamir’s shooting death. The prosecutor called it “a perfect storm of human error.” Three reports released by the prosecutor’s office found that the officer’s reaction was reasonable. However, experts hired by Tamir’s family concluded that Tamir’s hands were in his pockets and not going for his waistband when he was shot.
While Timothy was allowed to stay on the force after the shooting, he was fired in 2017 for providing false information on his job application. After the shooting incident, Frank was suspended for ten days for a policy violation. It was reported in 2018 that Timothy was hired as a part-time police officer in the Bellaire Police Department, Ohio. Timothy appealed to get his job back in early 2021 only to be turned down by the Ohio Supreme Court in July that year.