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Hire of Tamir Rice’s killer exposed feuds in Tioga

Plus: Penn State distances itself from past diversity proposals, UMPC and its nurses reach a tentative deal, and a cold Christmas Eve


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This is Talk of the Town, a free weekly newsletter delivering top news from State College and the surrounding region.

December 22, 2022
Inside this edition: How a tiny PA borough nearly imploded after hiring Tamir Rice’s killer, Penn State distances itself from past diversity proposals, and UPMC Altoona and its nurses reach a tentative deal.
Min Xian / Spotlight PA

Real quick: After Tioga hired the cop who killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, long-simmering personal grudges and infighting exploded and brought local government in the tiny Pennsylvania borough to a halt.

A little more: Standing in a nondescript corner of the Tioga Borough Council Room, Mayor David Wilcox read from a printout of the Pennsylvania police oath and swore in his small town’s new police officer. A few feet away, a clean-shaven man raised his right hand and took the pledge.

One day later, Wilcox stood on the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot outside the municipal building and told dozens of protesters he was deceived by the Borough Council, and that he knew nothing about the man he had inducted as Tioga’s only police officer the day before.

That man was Timothy Loehmann.

Loehmann shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice — a Black boy who was playing with a toy gun at a park — in Cleveland in 2014. The shooting prompted national outrage and several nights of protest in Cleveland and other cities, but a grand jury declined to indict Loehmann. He was later fired for failing to disclose that his prior employer had deemed him unfit for duty.

Eight years later and 300 miles east, that history would thrust remote Tioga borough and its 700 residents into an intense but fleeting national limelight. But the story of what led to the controversial decision, and what it revealed about this place and its leaders, hasn’t been told — until now.

Read Spotlight PA's full investigation, Broken Borough, here.

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» Penn State distances itself from past diversity proposals while launching similar efforts

» What Josh Shapiro's transition team says about how he'll govern, and why some picks are raising eyebrows

» Gov. Tom Wolf on COVID policies: 'I'm going to be second-guessing myself until the day I die'

» Pa. Republicans fight to prolong House majority and pass far-reaching constitutional amendments
Holiday lights in downtown State College by Sarah Rafacz, who edits Talk of the Town.

Want to be featured here? Send your best local pics to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org.
» State Gaming board turns down a competitor's request for information about the proposed Nittany Mall casino developer (WPSU)

» Centre Region municipalities set budgets, tax rates for 2023 (StateCollege.com)

» Halfmoon Township's proposal to stop funding Schlow library draws surprise, concern (Centre Daily Times)

» AASB discusses state of the district (Altoona Mirror)

» 'Unique partnership' brings Centre, Clearfield together to open Moshannon Valley Heritage Center (Centre Daily Times)

» Get ready to bundle up. Centre County could see the coldest Christmas Eve since 1999(Centre Daily Times)

» UPMC, nurses reach tentative deal (Altoona Mirror)
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Dec. 22-23: Dryhouse Farm in Belleville presents a live nativity.

» Dec. 22-Jan. 10: Enjoy the winter displays at The Arboretum at Penn State.

» Dec. 23: Good Intent Cider hosts an Ugly Sweater Party.

» Dec. 23: Faith Church offers Christmas carols, hot cocoa, and cookies at Titan Market.

» Dec. 24: Santa and his elves visit Tyrone with local fire companies.
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