Bellaire adds suspended Bethesda police chief, former Cleveland officer to police force

WTOV 9 News

The Bellaire Police Department has hired six new officers, including Timothy Loehmann, the former Cleveland Police Officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 as he held a pellet gun, which made headlines across the country.  

Loehmann was not convicted of a felony, as the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury chose not to file charges against him.

“The last guy I hired part-time, as you know, was Tim Loehmann from the Cleveland Police Department, who (in 2014), was involved in a shooting in which a young man had lost his life,” said Bellaire Police Chief Dick Flanagan. “He had put his application in to several police departments. He also still wants to be a police officer. He’s not quitting on being a police officer. He made the decision (in 2014) that’s going to stay with him the rest of his life. Like anybody else, if you make a mistake, someone’s gotta give you a second chance. Give someone the opportunity.

“There is now worry. I stand behind this officer. He was down here two months ago. When he first applied, he told me everything that took place in that incident. I made the phone calls, I talked to the appropriate people. I’ll stand behind this officer like I will any of my officers.”

Also joining the police force is suspended Bethesda Police Chief Eric Smith.

Smith is currently under investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for allegedly misusing the state’s law enforcement gateway, a database that can only be used for law enforcement purposes.

Flanagan said neither of the officers were charged with anything, and he believes they will help move the department forward.

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