Tag Archives: Police Union

Police Union Calls Officer Drug, Alcohol Testing ‘Illegal Search and Seizure’

A police officers’ union has filed a complaint against the City of Pittsburgh, Pa. for requiring officers to submit to drug and alcohol tests that allegedly violate their employment contracts and the U.S. Constitution.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay has made it department policy to perform drug and alcohol tests on officers involved in a car chase ending in a crash even when the officer in question does not specifically make impact with another vehicle. Pittsburgh police officers’ employment contracts call for testing whenever they discharge a weapon, are involved in a crash, or are suspected of being under the influence at work.

The complaint was filed on behalf of officers who were ordered to submit to testing after participating in car chases ending in crashes in which they themselves did not make impact with a vehicle.

[RELATED: Chicago Police Union Stands By Officer Charged with First Degree Murder]

Pittsburgh police union attorney Bryan Campbell told WPXI-TV, “I don’t know why the city suddenly changed the policy on this, and it’s our position that this is an illegal search and seizure.

Chief Cameron McLay argued, “Regardless of whether or not they were a collision vehicle, the reality is I consider us to have been involved. We are going to interpret that policy as I believe it was intended and protect the officers, as well as the community, by verifying that the officer wasn’t impaired.

[Officers] don’t forfeit their constitutional rights to protect the city from a civil liability,” said Campbell, implying that Chief McLay’s motive in ordering the tests is to protect the city from potential lawsuits.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Is Justice Blind To Charging Police Officers?]

Pursuant to the complaint, Pittsburgh’s Department of Law is set to review Chief McLay’s interpretation of the policy. If Campbell’s interpretation of the wording of the employment contract prevails, Pittsburgh will be forced to stop testing officers unless they’re directly involved in a collision impact. Otherwise, the dispute will move forward in an arbitration process.

(Video) Cleveland’s Police Union Leader Defends Officer’s Killing Of Tamir Rice: “When We Tell You To Do Something, Do It”

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Union President Jeffrey Follmer shared tough words with Ari Melber regarding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice on MSNBC’s All In Monday night, defending the actions of Officer Tim Loehmann and concluding that unwavering compliance from citizens is necessary to avoid death at the hands of police.

Tamir Rice was shot and killed by Loehmann- an officer who was declared too emotionally unstable to continue working at his former department in Independence- seconds after he and another officer encountered Rice. The video of the incident appears to have contradicted the account given by police, who had said that officers told the boy to put his hands up several times.

The beginning of the discussion between Melber and Follmer was focused on the story of Cleveland Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins, who wore a shirt that read “Justice for Tamir Brown and John Crawford” last Sunday. Follmer had expressed his disgust over Hawkin’s choice of clothing and sent a statement to NewsNet 5 in Cleveland that said “It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field.” Follmer also demanded an apology from the Browns.

The discussion gradually shifted to the shooting of Rice. “Don’t you think at a certain point that this kind of reaction risks feeding the perception that some of these police unions or some folks here don’t think they’re accountable to public views?” asked Melber.

“You know, there’s a video of this, and everything speaks for itself. The male’s action spoke for itself. The video clearly shows, and by the officers’ statement, that they were justified  in the deadly force,” said Follmer.

“You’re saying that the video clearly shows that the 12-year-old boy was an imminent lethal threat to the officers?” Melber asked.

“Oh, absolutely. I don’t know if you didn’t see it, but yeah absolutely,” Follmer replied.

“What do you think about the concern people have, that folks are being killed in some cases by officers when there’s less than a lethal threat posed?” Melber asked Follmer later on.

“How about this? Listen to police officer’s commands, listen to what we tell us, tell you, and just stop,” Follmer said. “I think that eliminates a lot of problems. I have kids too, they know how to respect the law, they know what to do when a police officer comes up to them. I think the nation needs to realize that when we tell you to do something, do it. And if you’re wrong, you’re wrong. If you’re right, then the courts will figure it out.”