Former Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot and killed Tamir Rice in 2014, was sworn in as an officer for the borough of Tioga, a small town in Pennsylvania, according to News 5 Cleveland.
Loehmann was sworn in Tuesday night, however, residents of Tioga expressed their displeasure with the officer and staged a community protest outside, WENY News reports.
Tioga Mayor David Wilcox said that during Loehmann’s interview, Rice’s death was never brought up, despite the officer talking about his time in Cleveland, according to News 5 Cleveland, WENY News reports.
Wilcox added that he was unaware of Loehmann’s background during the swearing-in ceremony and is not responsible for retaining potential municipal employees.
Instead, he blamed the borough council, which is responsible for such matters. Wilcox also noted that the board misled him to believe that they conducted a full background check and his record came back as a blank slate.
“I was under the understanding, through our police committee and our Borough president, that they did an extensive background check on him,” the mayor said, according to WENY News. “Everything checked out, everyone they spoke to, clean record … and that was my understanding.”
The council unanimously approved Loehmann’s employment at $18 per hour. Loehmann would endure a 90-day probationary period before the council promoted him to chief after his term.
Wilcox said he received a text about Loehmann’s swearing in on Tuesday.
“I found it weird … because we don’t swear people in that way anymore … the way we used to,” he said. “Now, you can take your oath of office to the notary and have them sign it for free, right here in town at the bank. … I thought it was a little weird right from the beginning.”
Protesters congregated outside of the swearing-in ceremony. Michele Applebee, a protester from Mainesburg, Pennsylvania, said she felt deceived.
“It’s a betrayal of this community’s trust for them to hire somebody like that man … and I’m not going to say his name because he doesn’t deserve it,” she said according to WENY News. “He shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun ever again, honestly,” Applebee said, according to WENY News.
Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer published a statement concerning Loehmann’s employment by another department.
“Timothy Loehmann was cleared of all charges with his use of force. The only administrative charges after a civilian review was that he was found to have allegedly lied on his application. Timothy Loehmann was not given a fair chance in this area and deserves a fair chance in another city,” Follmer said, WENY News reports.
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir, said she is vehemently opposed to Loehmann’s hiring.
“No, he should never work as a police officer, ever!” she told News 5 Cleveland.