Police Dispatcher who Neglected to Inform Officers That Tamir Rice Was a Child With a Fake Weapon Suspended Only 8 days

Crime, News, Police Brutality, Race and Ethnicity

The death of Tamir rice at the hands of law enforcement will always be especially tragic because justice was never rightly served for this young boy. The hearing for Timothy Loehmann, the officer who fired the fatal shot, has not been scheduled- and an off duty officer at the scene was only suspended a measly 2 days. Now- to add insult to injury for his living relatives, the police dispatcher who failed to report to responding officers that a 911 caller had described Tamir as probably a child with a fake gun, has only been suspended for a mere 8 days as consequence for their mishandling of the situation. Her negligence caused the direct death of a child, and for that she is only reprimanded with a slap on the wrist- Tamir’s family is calling for at bare minimum for everyone involved in his case to be fired.

As reported by Reuters:

A Cleveland police dispatcher was suspended for eight days for failing to warn officers in the 2014 shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice that a 911 caller had described the scene as probably a child with a fake gun, the boy’s family lawyer said on Wednesday.

Reports of the suspension published in Cleveland on Tuesday led to criticism of authorities on social media under the Twitter hashtag #TamirRice, including “8 days suspension? How pathetic” and “the 911 dispatcher whose words lead to the terrible death of tamir rice, an INNOCENT 12 year old, should be FIRED, not simply suspended.”

The shooting of the black child, who was playing with a replica gun that fired plastic pellets, by two white police officers was one of several that fueled scrutiny of police use of deadly force across the United States, particularly against minorities.

The family’s lawyer Subodh Chandra said the dispatcher, Constance Hollinger, also received a disciplinary letter after a 10-month investigation that ended in February. An off-duty officer at the scene, William Cunningham II, was suspended for two days without pay.

Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, has urged that anyone involved in the shooting be fired and Chandra said the mother considered Hollinger’s eight day suspension without pay “unacceptable.”

Samaria Rice is well within her rights to want to seek justice for her son. Too many times are black men ruthlessly gunned down by officers feeling threatened. As we previously reported, black men are seen as more threatening than their white counter parts of equal and similar stature– children should no be subject to the same, and live their childhoods to the fullest.

Chandra publicly released a March 6 letter about the city’s decision on Tuesday evening.

City and police union officials confirmed the letter’s legitimacy.

The attorney for Hollinger, Keith Wolgamuth, could not be reached to comment.

Hollinger received a 911 call on Nov. 22, 2014 reporting that a man was waving a gun outside a Cleveland Recreation center. Two officers responded and one fatally shot Rice within seconds of arriving.

The letter from Public Safety Director Michael McGrath said Hollinger was disciplined because she neglected to tell responding officers that the 911 caller said Rice was “probably a juvenile” and the gun was “probably fake.”

Officer Frank Garmback had his disciplinary hearing Monday and a decision in his case is pending, police union president Steve Loomis said. The hearing for Timothy Loehmann, who fired the fatal shot, has not been scheduled.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against the officers in 2015.

A lawyer for the off-duty officer Cunningham, Henry Hilow, said he had not spoken to his client since the decision, so it was not yet known whether he would appeal. However, Hilow called it an “administrative violation.”

Last year, the city settled a civil lawsuit the family filed for $6 million.

What are your thoughts on the 8 day suspension for the negligent dispatcher who’s ineptitude directly lead to the death of Tamir Rice? What of the other lenient consequences others involved have faced? Cases like Tamir’s are clear examples of how black lives do not matter in the eyes of the law- movements like #Blacklivesmatter will continue to be a force to be reckoned with until justice and equality is finally attained for those affected by law enforcement officials immune to punishment.

(Article By Tasha Sharifa)

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