By Frederick H. Lowe
A Cleveland police dispatcher who failed to convey the correct information to a police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, believing he was armed with a loaded pistol, not a toy gun, has been suspended for eight days without pay.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams wrote in a disciplinary letter that 911 dispatcher Constance Hollinger violated protocol on November 22, 2014, the day Rice was shot while playing in the Cudell Recreation Center.
Hollinger took the call concerning Rice. The caller told her that someone was brandishing a gun, and it “probably was a juvenile.” The caller added that the gun was probably “a fake.”
Hollinger, however, did not convey that vital information to the responding police officers.
Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, two Cleveland police officers, sped to the park, and Loehmann, a trainee, shot and killed Rice moments after arriving.
Rice was playing with a pellet gun when he was killed.
Former Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said the shooting may have been avoided if the dispatcher had conveyed the proper information to the police officers.
Hollinger’s suspension angered Samaria Rice, the boy’s mother. “Eight days for gross negligence resulting in the death of a 12 –year old boy. How pathetic is that,” she said.
Last April, Cleveland agreed to pay Samaria Rice $6 million for her son’s death.