On Killing Children

On Killing Children

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Protesting murder. Photo by Tony Dejak/AP

More than two and a half years after he shot and killed Tamir Rice, Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann has been fired - not for murdering a 12-year-old child playing with a toy gun within two seconds of driving up to him at a park gazebo, but for “inaccurate details on his job application,” aka lying to get a job for which he was grossly unqualified. Police said their investigation showed Loehmann had omitted from his application damning evidence from an earlier job at a small police department, where he resigned after being found unfit, with an “inability to emotionally function.” Loehmann was still on probation in Cleveland when he killed Tamir in November 2014. Despite community outrage, a 2016 grand jury declined to indict him for any crime related to Tamir's death.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

At a press conference Tuesday, police officials said Loehmann was being fired for lying on his job application, not for violating any rules or laws connected to the shooting in cold blood of a 12-year-old black boy playing in a park. They also said Officer Frank Garmback, who drove the patrol car, will be suspended for 10 days for using “improper tactics,” and two more cops will be briefly suspended. The head of Cleveland's police union objected to the actions against Loehmann and Garmback as "a politically motivated witch hunt,” arguing that, "These gentlemen did not do anything ...outside of our policy." This, in truth, is America's policy: Armed with badges and guns and white skin, these gentlemen murdered a 12-year-old child, essentially because he wasblack and thus threatening, and failed to offer him medical or human aid even as he lay dying and reaching out for a hand, and got away with it. God help us.

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