Cleveland police say they’re opposed to justice, find it offensive. These boys are in the wrong line of work. Fire them all.

Cleveland police say they’re opposed to justice, find it offensive. These boys are in the wrong line of work. Fire them all. December 15, 2014

The Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association can’t read and can’t understand the English language. That’s the most charitable explanation for their taking offense at this T-shirt worn by Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hamilton Hawkins:


The Cleveland cops are reacting as though Hamilton’s shirt said “Free Eric Frein” or “I Stand With Dennis Marx” or “Hurray for Dennis Williams” or otherwise expressed sympathy for those anti-police cop-killers. But his shirt didn’t express any such sentiment. His shirt simply read “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” — two law-abiding civilians who were killed in the city where Hamilton works.

“Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” is not an insult directed at the Cleveland police. It is a summary of their job description.

What the Cleveland police are saying, then, is that they do not want to do their job. What they have chosen to say, unambiguously, is that they are opposed to “Justice.” That’s a clear sign they’re in the wrong line of work. It makes about as much sense as a group of doctors getting angry about a T-shirt championing “health.”

Specifically, the Cleveland police are going out of their way to make us all aware that they are opposed to “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford.” I would hesitate to accuse them of such an ugly, defiantly unjust position, but this isn’t my opinion of them or anyone else’s evaluation or characterization: This is them, on their own, choosing voluntarily to inform us all that they stand opposed to and are offended by “Justice.”

It’s not clear whether or not this was intended as a mass letter of resignation, but that is the most logical conclusion that can be drawn from Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association President Jeff Follmer’s statement that Hamilton’s shirt was offensive to him and to all the “police officers” he claims to represent. If they’re opposed to and offended by justice, then they can’t want to remain on the job. They must be begging to be relieved of duty.

Grant them that wish. Any police officer who is offended by “Justice” needs to be relieved of the duty to uphold it.

Unfortunately, Follmer’s weird anti-justice, anti-police rant on behalf of these anti-justice “police officers” was not the only news this weekend from the Cleveland police department. There was also this:

Police aggressively questioned the tearful girlfriend of a young black man they had just shot dead as he held a BB gun in an Ohio supermarket – accusing her of lying, threatening her with jail, and suggesting her boyfriend had planned to shoot the mother of his children.

Tasha Thomas was reduced to swearing on the lives of her relatives that John Crawford III had not been carrying a firearm when they entered the Walmart in Beavercreek, near Dayton, to buy crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars on the evening of 5 August.

“You lie to me and you might be on your way to jail,” detective Rodney Curd told Thomas, as she wept and repeatedly offered to take a lie-detector test. After more than an hour and a half of questioning and statement-taking, Curd finally told Thomas that Crawford, 22, had died.

“As a result of his actions, he is gone,” said the detective, as she slumped in her chair and cried.

Crawford had been shot by police officer Sean Williams, after a customer called 911 and claimed the 22-year-old was pointing a gun at passersby. Surveillance footage released later showed Crawford picking up the BB rifle from a shelf, wandering the aisles and occasionally swinging the gun at his side while he spoke on his cellphone to his ex-girlfriend.

A 94-minute police video recording, released to the Guardian by the office of Mike DeWine, the Ohio attorney general, in response to a public records request, shows Thomas, 26, being interviewed by Curd after she was driven from Walmart to the Beavercreek police department. Curd later told investigators he had not yet been told Crawford only had a BB gun that had been on sale at the store.

It seems woefully inept and irresponsibly cruel that Det. Curd would spend so much time bullying this newly widowed woman about a gun that didn’t exist hours after the police knew full well that Crawford was unarmed when he was killed, but again such massive ineptitude is the best case scenario. Because if the Cleveland police weren’t that much of an appalling clown show — if it was not the case that Curd “had not yet been told” that the gun he’s grilling Tasha Thomas about did not exist — then he was, instead, attempting to coerce false testimony from a crime victim in order to cover up the killing of an unarmed man.

So let’s hope this is just epic stupidity and not sheer evil, because I guess, at some level, that would be slightly less awful, if not any less cruel or lethal.

Either way, add that to Follmer’s insistence that he and his fellow officers find “Justice” to be offensive and it’s pretty clear that these guys lack the capacity and the inclination to do their very important job. Let them go, then. It shouldn’t be hard to find replacements who are at least as competent, and who don’t share their reflexive opposition to justice, then very definition of their job.

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