Cleveland Police Union’s Absurd Position on DOJ Oversight

The city of Cleveland has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice for reforms and oversight of the police department, which has a terrible history of abuse and misconduct. Naturally, the Cleveland police union is flipping out over it and making ridiculous arguments.

The head of the Cleveland police department’s patrol union said aspects of the agreement that mandates sweeping reforms to the city’s police department could put officers in danger.

Officers could be hesitant to draw their guns because doing so would result in more paperwork under the terms of the agreement, Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association president Steve Loomis said Wednesday. The agreement requires an officer to complete a report each time he or she points a gun at a suspect.

“It’s going to get somebody killed,” Loomis said. “There’s going to be a time when someone isn’t going to want to do that paperwork, so he’s going to keep that gun in its holster.”

Really? If an officer is actually in danger and needs to pull his gun, he’s not going to do it because he doesn’t like paperwork? Isn’t that an admission that your officers are lazy and stupid? And given the long history of the use of deadly force by the Cleveland PD, officers being more reluctant to pull their weapons can only be a good thing. Perhaps the extra paperwork and oversight will make them do so only when they actually have to.

Bear in mind, this is the same police union that steadfastly defends two officers who gunned down a 12 year old holding a toy gun within seconds of arriving on the scene. And the 13 officers who fired 137 bullets at two unarmed people in a car. And all the other officers who have committed gross misconduct and police brutality in that city.

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  • StevoR

    The chore of filling out paperwork afterwards or my life .. Oh gee let me think ..

  • StevoR

    Its a toughie ain’t it!

  • k_machine

    Sounds like Cleveland needs a loose cannon who doesn’t play by the rules, but the chief lets him get away with it, because he gets results god dammit!

  • Modusoperandi

    k_machine, just as long as he stays away from Menendez, who is not a kingpin of the cocaine cartel but is instead a personal friend of the mayor and a pillar of the community . He paid for that community center, out on the docks, beside his speedboat factory, just feet from international waters and everything! It opens this weekend.

  • Hoosier X

    So ,,, the union is trying to scare the public by saying that cops will be less likely to murder black children because they won’t be so quick to draw their guns because they hate paperwork so much.

    I will give them credit for not comparing their critics to the Nazis. (That’s how low the bar is for cops nowadays.)

  • dingojack

    k_machine – furgeddit! Even Mel Gibson’s far too old for that shit!


  • D. C. Sessions

    He may have a point about the danger to officers. Cutting back on unnecessary use of deadly force might increase the risk to officers, perhaps even bringing them up to the national level. Which is about the same as the maternal mortality risk of a live birth.

    Or, of course, it might actually lower the danger to officers from people who figure that any time they come into contact with the police, it’s a “the quick and the dead” situation where the odds of survival aren’t great if they kill the cop, but they’re near zero if they don’t.

  • John Pieret

    So, I guess the pen is mightier than the sword … because filling out a form will prevent cops from acting responsibly with their guns!

  • Michael Latiolais

    Modusoperandi, I’ll just leave this here:

  • chirez

    I wish someone would ask how many of those officers would shoot a child to save their own lives. That’s essentially the trade off being made here. Even if he is right, he’s arguing against placing police officers’ lives at risk to safeguard innocents.

    I kind of thought that was the freaking point?

  • johnm55

    OK we don’t have anywhere near as many guns in the hands of the general public as you do in the USA, but the Police Service (thats right it’s a service not a force) in the UK seems to get along reasonably well without being routinely armed. My guess is that most policing situations in the US, including Cleveland can be handled without the threat of lethal force, just as they are in the UK. It’s not as if our Police do not have access to lethal weaponry. If they think it is necessary they can produce a display of force the would take out a small third world country.

    They still at times show the same arrogance that the likes of the Cleveland police appear to show, but the shooting dead of a 12 year old with a toy gun is something that almost definitely wouldn’t happen, because the first responders would not be armed and are trained to try and defuse a situation like that rather than escalate it.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Yes but how many of those UK black kids get away by simply running? If you can’t shoot them how are you going to catch them? Heaven help us if the cop has to put down the doughnut and actually run. /sarc

  • magistramarla

    Makes me think about the time that I approached the special ed department in our high school about a student of mine that I thought might need their services, I was told that it would generate too much paperwork and that it wasn’t worth the time considering that the student’s problem seemed mild and that he was passing all of his classes.

    The opinion in that department was that if the student’s problem hadn’t been caught in earlier grades, it was too late to begin to help him in high school.

  • Rick Pikul

    Having to make report when they aim their weapon at a suspect is a major _increase_ in paperwork requirements for Cleveland police?!?!?!

    Around here, there is a report to be filled out every time an officer _DRAWS_ his gun for any reason. How dangerous has this made things for the police of Toronto[1]? We have lost a grand total of 41 officers while on duty, since 1901, the last in 2013 in a traffic accident.

    [1] A city seven times the size of Cleveland.

  • Modusoperandi

    Rick Pikul “How dangerous has this made things for the police of Toronto[1]? …

    [1] A city seven times the size of Cleveland.”

    Yes, but Toronto is more than twenty times as Canadian as Cleveland.

    And most of your crime gets classified as “hockey brawl”. I remember when my father got in to a fight there, after our plane got diverted to Lester B. Pearson Airport and Memorial Arena. I still remember seeing my mother, hands pressed against the plexiglass, visiting him in the penalty box.

  • ahcuah

    If an officer is actually in danger and needs to pull his gun, he’s not going to do it because he doesn’t like paperwork? Isn’t that an admission that your officers are lazy and stupid?

    And why doesn’t any reporter ever ask him that question?

  • carpenterman

    George Carlin wrote, “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough not to quit”. Unfortunately, cops are no exception.

  • Holms

    Really? If an officer is actually in danger and needs to pull his gun, he’s not going to do it because he doesn’t like paperwork? Isn’t that an admission that your officers are lazy and stupid?

    No, it’s an admission that the officers draw their guns far too frequently for reasons that are almost always trivial.

  • colnago80

    Re ahcuah @ #16

    Are you kidding me? Reporters for the lamestream media asking a tough question? In a pigs eye.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Steve Loomis: It’s going to get somebody killed. There’s going to be a time when someone isn’t going to want to do that paperwork, so he’s going to keep that gun in its holster.

    Reporter Who Isn’t Braindead: So, you’re saying that when making the decision to draw or keep holstered a weapon, it is standard practice for an officer to consider the amount of paperwork required and balance that against how drawing or keeping holstered a weapon will keep the officer and the public safe?

    SL: No, no, no. All our officers do exactly what they’re trained to do. I’m just saying the paperwork training will have an impact.

    RWIB: So, you’re saying you’re being trained to make the decision to threaten lethal force based on how long a report you have to write?

    SL: Of course not. Well, yes. But in the psychological sense. We’re being trained for that, but it’s not in the training manual. It’s an effect of what the officers get told, and that what we call training.

    RWIB: So if the officers are simply told not to consider paperwork when making decisions to threaten or use force, then they won’t consider it.

    SL: That will never work. You can’t tell an officer not to think of a pink elephant.

    RWIB: Don’t think of a pink elephant. Huh. It seems I just did. Perhaps you’d care to elaborate.

    SL: What I’m saying is that once an idea gets into an officer’s head, you can’t get it out again.

    RWIB: So, if, for instance, a cop was trained by a racist cop, that cop will be unable to stop thinking racist things, and will even make decisions to threaten or use force based on these racist things that the cop can’t stop thinking?

    SL: No. You’re missing the point. The point isn’t that officers are racist. It’s that officers are going to be put at risk by this Department of Justice because they can’t obey the niceties of DoJ wishful thinking about what policing should be when they’re out in the real world.

    RWIB: But the Cleveland Police Department has been found to be violating the constitution and the law, and this settlement is to prevent all officers from losing their jobs. Would you be happier if all the CPD officers lost their jobs?

    SL: No! Of course not! These higher ups put officers at risk, then blame the officers when a few violent thugs like that 9 year old kid with the squirt gun get shot because the violent thugs refuse to stop the violence for a moment, not even when they take a break from gang-banging to play with the neighborhood kids? Why couldn’t that kid play something more wholesome, like Seal Team Six vs. bin Laden?

    RWIB: Well, I don’t know about that child, but are you saying that the CPD cannot police this city without violating the constitution?

    SL: No, all I’m saying is that if you ask officers to start obeying the constitution, then some of them are going to die, and then you’re going to have a real revolution, because then all the officers with experience in this department, the officers who know what it used to be like when they were safe to pull their weapons, …

    RWIB: Safe from paperwork?

    SL: You know what I mean! Safe from consequences if they decide to defend themselves! All those good, old-time cops with experience are just going to up and quit!

    RWIB: And that’s the bad consequence from which you’d like to save this city?

    SL: Damn right.

    RWIB: Thanks so much for your time.

  • Lofty

    Of course they’re afraid of paperwork because it makes their actions more traceable. Never mind ubiquitous cameras and all that, a paperwork trail is very dangerous to that kind of person.

  • dingojack

    The last policeman shot in Cleveland* seems to have been Police Officer Derek Wayne Owens on Saturday, March 1, 2008.



    * of the total of 74 since 1875 (0.52857142857 shot per year)

    [106 duty-related deaths since 1853 (0.65432098765 deaths from all causes per year)]

  • DaveL

    When I see the public discourse about violent police culture in the US, I see a symptom of the deeper rift in US society. I always hear that “we don’t understand what it’s like out there”, a statement loaded down with unspoken meanings. Doesn’t “we” mean “the public”? Doesn’t “out there” mean people’s homes and neighborhoods?

    Apparently not, because it makes no sense to claim that the public doesn’t understand what it’s like in the very spaces where they live and work. Obviously, “out there” means poor neighborhoods where poor people of color live and middle-class white people can generally choose to avoid. Obviously, when the police talk about the public “we”, it doesn’t include those poor people of color as citizens and constituents. So when the police in, say, the Akai Gurley case talk about the ultra-dangerous housing projects where police can’t be expected to even visit except in pairs and with guns drawn, we’re not supposed to take alarm that school-aged children and old ladies are actually expected to live there, because they’re not included as one of “us” and their lives are implicitly understood to be worth much less.

  • thebookofdave

    I believe William Blackstone said it best: “For the law holds, that it is better that ten innocent persons suffer death, than that one officer be compelled to write an extra report.”