West Virginia police chief responsible for hiring of officer who killed Tamir Rice steps down

A West Virginia police chief responsible for the hiring of a former Cleveland officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 has stepped down.

White Sulphur Springs Police Chief D.S. Teubert returned to his former job as a patrolman, WVVA-TV reported. Mayor Kathy Glover said Teubert had recommended the hiring of Timothy Loehmann as a probationary officer.

Loehmann resigned from the White Sulphur Springs police force last week. It marked the third time in six years that Loehmann had left a small police department amid backlash shortly after he had been hired.

“I did not know who he was, and I did not have all of the information that should have been given,” Glover said at a town council meeting Monday night. “It was something we were unaware of and not prepared for all the way around.”

Glover said she also apologized to the family of Rice.

Rice, who was Black, was playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland on Nov. 22, 2014, when he was shot and killed by Loehmann seconds after Loehmann and his partner arrived. The officers, who are white, told investigators Loehmann had shouted three times at Tamir to raise his hands.

The shooting sparked community protests about police treatment of Black people, especially after a grand jury decided not to indict Loehmann or his partner.

Cleveland settled a lawsuit over Tamir’s death for $6 million, and the city ultimately fired Loehmann for having lied on his application to become a police officer.

Loehmann later landed a part-time position with a police department in the southeast Ohio village of Bellaire in October 2018 but withdrew his application days later after Tamir’s mother, Samaria, and others criticized the hiring.

In July 2022, he was sworn in as the lone police officer in Tioga — a community of about 600 in rural north-central Pennsylvania, about 300 miles (480 kilometers) from Cleveland — but left without having worked a single shift amid backlash and media coverage over his hiring.

White Sulphur Springs Deputy Police Chief Julian R. Byer Jr. has been sworn in as the new police chief. A call to the White Sulphur Springs police department went unanswered Wednesday. Glover did not immediately return a telephone message.

White Sulphur Springs is home to the posh Greenbrier resort, owned by Republican Gov. Jim Justice in southeastern West Virginia along the Virginia border.

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