Cleveland police dispatcher in Tamir Rice
shooting suspended 8 days
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[March 16, 2017]
By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (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.”
Chandra publicly released a March 6 letter about the city's decision on
City and police union officials confirmed the letter's legitimacy.
The attorney for Hollinger, Keith Wolgamuth, could not be reached to
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.
[to top of second column]
People march along the Brooklyn Bridge as they take part in a
protest against the police in Manhattan, New York, December 28, 2015
after a grand jury cleared two Cleveland police officers on Monday
in the November 2014 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
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
Last year, the city settled a civil lawsuit the family filed for $6
(Reporting by Kim Palmer, Editing by Ben Klayman and Grant McCool)
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