Last November, the whole world watched with horror the heartbreaking video of the Cleveland police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Police officer Timothy Loehmann gunned down Rice immediately after coming upon him playing with a toy gun.
Now the ugly truth is even uglier in the public eye. Newly released video footage has made the news again, proving what Cleveland’s African-American community has known all along from information shared by Rice’s family.
After Rice was shot, Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback, tackled, handcuffed and forced Rice’s 14-year-old sister into a squad car. She had rushed to the scene after Rice had been shot, crying, “You killed my baby brother!”
The complete footage, which the Cleveland Plain Dealer pushed the police to release, also shows Loehmann and Garmback denying Rice first aid. Additionally, it has come to light that Rice’s mother and brother were kept from the dying youth’s bedside by Metro General Hospital police.
Meanwhile, another widely viewed case has revealed the hideous collusion of the Cleveland Division of Police — whose consistent policy of covering up brutality and abuse permeates this racist institution from top to bottom — with the courts and the professional associations of police wrongly characterized as unions, who defend their own in each and every case of misconduct, including murder.
In the aftermath of the shocking killings of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, who died after Cleveland police fired 137 bullets into their vehicle in 2012, 85 police officers received various levels of discipline, including firings. The Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association filed grievances on behalf of the officers.
One of these killers who was fired and two who were demoted have been reinstated with back pay after Common Pleas Judge Timothy Russo upheld an arbitrator’s ruling in favor of the three. It’s highly possible that more and possibly all 85 of those complicit in the double murder will be exonerated.
There is more heat in the street about the killing, earlier in November, of Tanisha Anderson, who died in front of her family members’ home after relatives called 911 asking for an ambulance. Police came instead, causing Anderson’s death by a “takedown maneuver” and leaving her to die in the cold after she stopped breathing.
Many are furious about what these killer cops are getting away with and no one has turned the page on Tamir Rice’s murder. Hundreds are packing rooms in the various city wards where the City Council is conducting “listening tours.” One can immediately feel the bubbling anger as residents vent, despite their cynicism that these meetings will not yield any significant changes. With the latest revelation of the outrageous conduct of Loehmann and Garmback coming to light, the crisis has reached a tipping point.
The resistance continues, with courageous youth, parents and children holding “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations — while facing down police dogs, bomb squads, marine units and other elements of the militarized occupation force that constitutes the CDP. When the City Council returns from winter recess, they can expect council chambers to be sweltering from the heat of community anger.