|Newly elected Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis, who will begin assuming his duties in January after ousting Jeff Follmer in an election by the union rank and file last month.|
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com, and the Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Kathy Wray Coleman is a community activist, educator and 21-year investigative journalist who trained at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio for 17 years. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)
Loomis won this year's election by 300 votes. He will officially re-assume the role of union president in January. His victory comes on the heels of a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report announced two weeks ago on gross impropriety by Cleveland police, from illegal deadly force, to vicious pistil whippings of adults and children, and "cruel and unusual punishment against the mentally ill."
reflection on whether the union's rank and file support or reject the Jackson administration, Loomis, who joined the force in 1992, told Cleveland Urban News.Com at the time that he could not guess why he lost.
|Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeff Follmer (center) surrounded by some members of his union at a press |
conference in 2012
Follmer may have been a little too outspoken. He publicly called the shooting death in 2012 of unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Tim Russell, both gunned down with police slinging 137 bullets following a car chase that began in downtown Cleveland and ended in neighboring East Cleveland, "a good shooting." And in the midst of the Williams-Russell fiasco, he led the union unsuccessfully calling for the resignation of then police chief Michael McGrath, now the safety director. And just this week he publicly criticized Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins for wearing a shirt at the Browns game on Sunday against the Bengals that read "Justice for Tamir Rice and Eric Crawford."
Twelve year-old Rice was slain by Cleveland police on Nov 22 at a public park on the city's largely White west side for sporting a top pellet gun, and Crawford was killed by police at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio for picking up an air rifle off of a store shelf.
Loomis' predecessor before he was first elected, Bob Beck, often fought with White, who accused his own police of being racist in his third term as mayor. And Beck fought with former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, who succeeded White and lost to Jackson in 2005 after one term in office.
In addition to recent arbitrary police killings from Rice to Tanisha Anderson, who was killed by police three weeks ago while in custody, Loomis took heat in 2011 after then Cleveland NAACP President George Forbes, with a dozen Black leaders in support, including state legislators and Cleveland City Councilmen Zack Reed and Jeff Johnson, held a press conference against police. At that press conference, Forbes accused police that were moonlighting in Cleveland's Warehouse District of roughing up Blacks that patronize the restaurants and bars there.
Community activists say that police get away with murder because of their status as cops, and that it is detrimental to the Black community, and others.