Officer’s suspension after Tamir Rice shooting is overturned


CLEVELAND (AP) — An arbitrator has overturned a two-day suspension for a Cleveland police supervisor who detained the teenage sister of 12-year-old Tamir Rice after the Black youth was fatally shot by a white police officer while playing with a pellet gun at a park in 2014.

The teenager filed a complaint, and the city safety director ordered in 2020 that Sgt. Janell Rutherford be suspended without pay for two days over the decision to hold the girl in the back of a police cruiser for more than an hour after the shooting. The police union challenged that suspension.

An arbitrator reversed the discipline in a decision earlier this month, finding that the city didn’t consider Rutherford’s contention that a superior had instructed her by phone to detain the girl, reported. The arbitrator also cited the “pointlessness” of suspending the officer after more than five years had passed, once most witnesses had left the police division and weren’t there to participate in the city’s investigation.

The arbitrator ruled that Rutherford, who recently retired, should receive back pay and have references to the suspension removed from her file.