3 Officers Facing Administrative Charges in Tamir Rice Case

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Three Cleveland police officers are facing administrative charges following an internal investigation into the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by police while carrying a toy gun in November 2014.

The charges were brought against Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann, Frank Garmback and William Cunningham, who were all on the scene when Rice was shot, city officials said in a press conference Friday afternoon. The city's Quality Control Office, Integrity Control Section and Critical Incident Review Committee reviewed the case and recommended administrative charges, the mayor's office said in a press release.

In December 2015, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced that the review would be conducted, saying, "People are upset, and legitimately and rightfully so."

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams reviewed the findings of the report and referred them to the Department of Public Safety for a final determination on the appropriate disciplinary action.

DPS Director Michael McGrath will hold disciplinary hearings for the three officers, who face discipline ranging from 11 days suspension to termination, according to the mayor's office.

The DPS Quality Control Office also conducted an investigation into the hiring of Loehmann, specifically his application documents, the mayor's office said. Administrative charges against a fourth officer are expected, according to the mayor's office.

In November 2014, Loehmann shot Rice as he was holding a toy gun at a Cleveland playground. The boy's sister ran to the gazebo where he was shot in a state of panic, and Cunningham and Garmback restrained her before handcuffing her and placing her in the back of the patrol car, according to a report by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

"It wasOfficerCunningham's idea to place her in the back of the car since shewould not calm down," the report from the prosecutor's office stated.

An Ohio grand jury declined to indict Loehmann or his partner, Garmback, in the boy's death. The prosecutor at the time, Timothy McGinty, who recommended no charges be filed, said Loehmann "had reason to fear for his life" and that it was "indisputable" from video evidence that Rice was reaching for the gun, though he called the shooting a "tragedy."

The City of Cleveland settled a $6 million wrongful death suit by the boy's family in the case, although there was no admission of wrongdoing.

After the shooting, Loehmann and Garmback had been placed on restricted duties, which is a paid administrative position, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association told ABC News in 2015.

The CPPA said it was "encouraged" that Loehmann "has not been charged with any wrongdoing" in Rice's shooting and emphasized that he "did nothing wrong that day."

"There is no question, and there has never been, that the death of Tamir Rice was tragic," the police union said. "Nevertheless, all agree that Officer Loehmann was not wrong in reacting the way he did. It appears that the actual charges are created to discipline him, and perhaps discharge him, despite the fact that he did nothing wrong that day."

The CPPA also called the administrative action against Garmback "disappointing."

It is not clear whether Cunningham was placed on restricted duties after the shooting.

The Critical Incident Review Committee was created in February 2016 to "conduct a thorough review administrative review of the actions of all employees and officers involved" in the incident, according to a press release from the city of Cleveland. It consists of members of the Cleveland Division of Police Command Staff, Integrity Control Section and Training Section, along with members of the City of Cleveland Law Department.

ABC News' Benjamin Stein and Michael Kreisel contributed to this report.

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