In the usual display of crass and arrogance we have come to expect from police union leaders, the president of the Cleveland police union sent a letter to the media today, stating that Tamir Rice’s family should donate a proceed of their settlement to educate kids about the dangers of playing with toy guns to keep them from being killed by police.
The $6 million settlement, announced earlier today, means that police will never have to admit to any wrongdoing.
But Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association, was not content at just leaving at that. He just had to send a letter to the media, laying blame on Tamir Rice for his own death.
“We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” Loomis wrote.
“Something positive must come from this tragic loss. That would be educating youth of the dangers of possessing a real or replica firearm.”
The settlement, which you can read here, was basically hush money as settlements tend to be, and it saves the city of Cleveland from having to explain why it hired Timothy Loehmann as a police officer when he was deemed “emotionally unstable” by another police department who had allowed him to resign to keep from firing him.
The Independence Police Department also said his “handgun performance was dismal” and that he displayed a “dangerous loss of composure” on the shooting range.
Deputy Chief Jim Polak of the Independence Police Department also stated the following in a memo about Loehmann:
“Individually, these events would not be considered major situations but, when taken together, they show a pattern of a lack of maturity, indiscretion, and not following instructions.”
“I do not believe time nor training will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”
But none of that mattered to the Cleveland Police Department who decided to hire him anyway, later claiming they had no idea that had been said about Loehmann.
The settlement also means that the city will not have to explain why the dispatcher who received the call about Rice pointing the gun at people –and who was told the gun was “probably fake” and that Rice was “probably a juvenile” – never passed those details along to the officers.
And the settlement also means Cleveland police will not have to explain why its officers pulled right up to Rice and hopped out if they really did think he had a gun instead of taking cover and analyzing the situation.
Loehmann, who shot and killed Rice with a second of the patrol car pulling up, claimed he was in fear for his life. And he is still on the force, which means the community is still at risk.
But this is a police department that had paid more than $8.2 million in settlements over the past decade because of civil rights violations. A police department that “engages in a pattern of practice of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” according to a United States Department of Justice investigation.
A police department that has no business telling a family of a child they killed on how they should spend their money.
But as long as that is open to debate, Tamir Rice’s family should use that money to move the hell out of Ohio not only to ensure their own safety from police, but to ensure they won’t have to fund any future settlements that are sure to come.