Little is known about Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, the cop who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in early December at the Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland's near west side.
What can be gleaned thus far comes from his father — who said in an interview with the Northeast Ohio Media Group
that he wanted to work in Cleveland instead of a suburb because there was "more action," that he's doing "pretty well" in the aftermath, and that his son told him he "had no choice" but to shoot — and from his personnel files from Independence and Cleveland.
He'd previously worked for the Independence police department briefly for six months in 2012, tendering his resignation on Dec. 4 of that year rather than enduring termination proceedings. Those were in the works, according to his file
, after training that showed he was "dismal" with a handgun on the range and "weepy" and "distracted." The letter recommending his termination detailed a host of other problems. A Cleveland police spokesperson told NEOMG that the department never reviewed Loehmann's file from Independence and have since changed their policies about doing so in the future with other officers.
Not included in the personnel files but obtained by Scene through a public records request is the psychological evaluation conducted on Loehmann before his hire in Independence. It was done by Dr. Thurston Cosner and, internal emails show, was expedited to meet a July 2012 official hiring date for the officer (July 11, to be exact.)
Cosner wrote back to the former chief later that evening.
It's unclear what he meant by "relax a little," but Cosner's full evaluation, while recommending Loehmann's hiring, highlighted red flags and various notes about Loehmann's personality and professional abilities.
Among his observations (the full evaluation can be read in PDF form below):
- Though his great grandfather, grandfather and father were all cops, Loehmann set out for law school until he scored low on the LSAT. He decided to pursue law enforcement after that.
- "He had strong negative reactions to drug use. 'I have seen people ruin their lives with drugs. I absolutely hate drugs. I believe when I am on the force, I will have a zero tolerance for drug offenders.'"
- He relayed that Loehmann said he never loses his temper and rarely gets upset.
- "Loehmann made a good physical impression. From a verbal and stylistic point of view he appeared particularly stiff and naive."
- "There was a sense that he lacks much streets sense and that his background and experience has not been very difficult of [sic] taxing."
- "Despite coming from a strongly committed law enforcement family he didn't appear to have much of an understanding of what the work entails."
- "He seems fairly rigid and perhaps has some dogmatic attitudes that could be problematic in police work, although he asserted he will follow department procedures when carrying out his duties."
- Loehmann did not finish all the questions on the Wonderlic exam and scored low in verbal reasoning and problem solving ability. With a 27th percentile grade, Cosner noted he was far below the average of other Northeast Ohio area police testers, the average among that group being the 67th percentile.
- Cosner noted four potential red flags.
- Cosner's recommendation came with the caveat that Loehmann worked slowly, could be seen as an "obstructionist" by others because of his lack of speed, and that training would be needed to help him make decisions quicker.
- If Loehmann was not hired by Independence, he was asked what he would do. This was his response.
Read the full report below.