A 911 dispatcher has been suspended for eight days after neglecting to disclose vital information that could have saved 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s life.
On November 22, 2014, Cleveland police officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, received a dispatch call “of a male black sitting on a swing and pointing a gun at people” in a city park. The caller who contacted 911 said in the beginning and middle of the call that the pistol Tamir was holding was “probably fake” and toward the end of the two-minute call the caller said, “he is probably a juvenile.” Within two seconds of the officers’ arrival to the scene, Loehmann fired two shots at the child, hitting him in the torso. Tamir Rice died the following day.
After an investigation, Cleveland’s police chief, Calvin Williams, has decided to discipline the 911 operator who took the call. According to reports, the 911 dispatcher, Constance Hollinger, failed to tell police that Rice could have been a child and that the gun he had was possibly fake. Hollinger was suspended eight days for violating protocol in her handling of the call that led to Tamir Rice’s murder.
Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, responded to the news of the eight-day suspension, calling it “Unacceptable.” Subodh Chandra, Ms. Rice’s attorney, added, “Eight days for gross negligence resulting in the death of a 12-year-old boy. How pathetic is that?” Chandra added, “Fat chance of this absurd discipline deterring anyone from anything other than continued incompetence and indifference. That the dispatcher still has her job when a child is dead, speaks volumes about accountability in Cleveland.”
The two officers who responded to the call have not faced disciplinary action.