A contentious debate continues to brew in Cleveland, as the presidential nominees draw their own lines in America's dust. Here, Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland police union who presided over an endorsement of Republican nominee Donald Trump, finds himself shouting down a bevy of city leaders demanding he be ousted from his position on the Cleveland Community Police Commission (CleCoPoCo).
This isn't the first time
In tandem, letters from Cleveland Peace Action, the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, the Cleveland branch of the NAACP and the Task Force for Community Mobilization urged that Loomis be removed from the commission. The underlying causes: Loomis' ongoing dismissal of many tenets and policies contained within the U.S. Department of Justice consent decree and his involvement with the police union's endorsement of Trump — a presidential nominee who, at the very least, is a rather divisive political character. This comes at a time when the Cleveland Division of Police is mending wounds caused by a known pattern of use of force and by nationally recognized police shootings (Tamir Rice, Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams).
Bringing that charged political stance to the CleCoPoCo, whose mission is to bridge the gap between the community and the police and to oversee the implementation of the consent decree, among other duties, is unacceptable, according to the agencies' letters.
(As head of the union, Loomis was able to appoint a member to the CleCoPoCo. He appointed himself.)
A non-binding resolution introduced by Councilman Zack Reed remains up for debate; Reed has called on the union to rescind its endorsement of Trump.
Recently, Loomis was interviewed
by WKYC's Russ Mitchell. Throughout, Loomis denied any impropriety in the union endorsing a presidential nominee — something the union had never done before. "I don't actually understand why [people are angry at the endorsement]," he said. "It's baffling me."
And after Loomis was seen at a Trump rally — in full police regalia — the department opened an investigation
into what that was all about and how personally tied to this endorsement might be.