The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice was considered a major liability in his previous police job—but Cleveland never looked at his file. When Tim Loehmann was an officer in the Cleveland suburb of Independence, the deputy chief wrote that he seemed "distracted" and "weepy" during firearms training, the Washington Post reports. "He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal," the chief wrote in a memo recommending the department part ways with Loehmann, who was allowed to resign two years ago instead of being fired and later graduated from Cleveland's police academy.
"Unfortunately in law enforcement there are times when instructions need [to] be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed," says the letter, which details mistakes that include leaving a firearm in an unsecured locker overnight. A Cleveland police spokesman says they never looked at Loehmann's personnel file from Independence when he joined the force, but they contacted the human resources department and were told he had no disciplinary actions taken against him, Cleveland.com reports. Police released surveillance video of the shooting last week, showing that Tamir, who was carrying a pellet gun, was shot within seconds of a police car arriving.