CLEVELAND (AP) — The 911 dispatcher who took the call that led to the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a patrol officer faces a possible suspension for what the city said was her failure to pass on relevant information to another dispatcher.
Tamir, a black boy who was playing with a pellet gun, was shot within seconds of a cruiser skidding to a stop just a few feet away from him in November 2014 outside a recreation center. The city’s internal disciplinary charges accuse dispatcher Constance Hollinger of failing to tell the dispatcher who sent the officers to the recreation center that the man who called 911 about “a guy” pointing a gun at people also said it could be a juvenile and the gun might be a “fake.”
Then-Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty cited the lack of information provided to the officers when he explained in December 2015 why he had recommended to a grand jury that rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann, the white officer who shot Tamir, and Loehmann’s training officer and driver of the cruiser, patrolman Frank Garmback, should not be charged criminally.
Hollinger had a disciplinary hearing with Police Chief Calvin Williams on Friday, Cleveland.com reported. She could face an unpaid suspension of as many as 10 days.
Steve Loomis, the president of the police union that represents patrol officers and dispatchers, said in a statement Monday that Hollinger is a “very good dispatcher” who followed department guidelines.
“Any assertion to the contrary is disingenuous, media-driven and politically motivated,” Loomis said.
Loehmann and Garmback face possible discipline by Safety Director Michael McGrath that could result in them being dismissed from the department. Loehmann’s disciplinary letter cites his failure to disclose in his application to Cleveland that the Independence Police Department, where he worked for six months, had placed a letter in his personnel file saying he had an “inability to emotionally function” and that he didn’t reveal he had failed a written test while applying for a police job in Maple Heights.
Garmback’s disciplinary letter accuses him of driving too close to Tamir and failing to report the time of arrival at the recreation center.
Loomis has said the officers did nothing wrong the day Tamir was shot.
Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, has called for the two officers to be fired. The city agreed last April to pay Tamir’s family $6 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit.
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