Cleveland police union president calls firings 'politically motivated'

CPPA files grievance over Cleveland firings
Published: Jan. 26, 2016 at 7:39 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2016 at 2:35 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association calls the firings of six Cleveland officers "politically motivated."

Six Cleveland police officers were fired Tuesday. Six others were suspended and one officer retired. The firings come as a result of the administrative discipline hearings for the 13 Cleveland police officers involved in the deadly November 2012 police chase and shooting.

6 CLE officers fired after deadly 2012 police chase, shooting 

The officers fired were Officer Michael Brelo, Officer Wilfredo Diaz, Det. Christopher Ereg, Officer Michael Farley, Det. Erin O'Donnell and Officer Brian Sabolik.

The police union president Steve Loomis said the union will fight the punishment from beginning to end.

"We're gonna fight it, we're fighting it to the end, we're gonna fight this," said Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association.

Loomis thinks the "unprecedented" firings were all about politics.

"Six officers-- they put a hat together and just started pulling names out of the hat until they got to the number they thought would be good enough to appease a certain segment of the population," he said, talking about the city's disciplinary actions.

The officers fired 137 shots into the car being driven by Timothy Russell. After ignoring commands to stop Russell and Malissa Williams, both unarmed, were gunned down in the parking lot of Heritage Middle School at the end of the 28-minute chase.

"It was a tragic situation, but we responded to the felonies being committed," said Loomis.

Officer Michael Brelo was the only officer charged with a felony in connection to the deadly chase and shooting. He was found not guilty after a bench trial in May.

The city now has until the middle of February to respond to the union's grievance. Otherwise, Loomis says it moves on to the next level which involves picking arbitrators.

Each side would then present their case for why the disciplinary action should or should not be upheld.

Loomis believes the facts are on the union's side.

"'Cause I'm going to get their jobs back folks, and I promise you they're going to get their jobs back, every single one," he said.

Five Cleveland police supervisors were also charged with dereliction of duty. Their case is pending before the Court of Appeals.

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