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Loomis rankled Cleveland police’s Black Shield union members on Trump, Browns, president says

November 21, 2017

Loomis rankled Cleveland police’s Black Shield union members on Trump, Browns, president says

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ousted Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis angered members of the city’s Black Shield Association police union over several issues related to President Donald Trump and the controversy surrounding Cleveland Browns players kneeling during the national anthem.

Cleveland’s Black Shield Association president Lynn Hampton said some of his some 200 black officers represented by the organization expressed concerns over Loomis’ decision to wade into those contentious debates.

“Their dismay may have come from some of the stuff that the CPPA weighed in on unnecessarily,” Hampton said. “They felt we didn’t need that kind of attention and that the negative press could have been avoided.”

Hampton said Tuesday that he’s not yet sure how many of his some 200 officers voted in the union president election that ended with Loomis losing to former police union president Jeff Follmer. The ballots are cast in secret over the phone.

Follmer beat Loomis by 38 votes out of 736 that were cast. There were 1,243 ballots sent out to union members.

Hampton said several officers expressed private reservations about Loomis leading the campaign to have the union endorse a presidential candidate in the 2016 election. The union had never before endorsed a president.

The turnout was low for the Trump endorsement vote with only 284 officers casting votes to endorse the president.

Hampton also said officers were upset after Loomis criticized the Browns for allowing players to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against mostly black citizens.

Hampton said he did not encourage voters one way or the other. He said both Loomis and Follmer reached out to the Black Shield to hear their concerns.

He said both promised more inclusion in the decision making of the CPPA, but that Follmer was “more specific.”

Follmer told Hampton that he learned a lot from some of his missteps he made during his previous two years as CPPA president, including when he was criticized for calling former Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins “pathetic” for wearing a “Justice for Tamir” shirt during pregame warm-ups before a 2014 game.

Loomis built a reputation as an outspoken pundit criticizing any criticism of police officers that followed many high-profile shootings of black men in communities throughout the country, including the November 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer.

He also endeared himself to the Trump campaign during the Republican National Convention and most recently traveled to Washington to attend the president’s declaration of a national opioid crisis.

“We’ll see how this goes moving forward,” Hampton said. “It’s an interesting time for our police officers and we need to be mindful that we need build trust with the community. We need to be aware we can do things to fan the flame.”

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