Tag Archives: Steve Loomis

Cleveland Police Union Head Rebukes New Reform Measures: “It’s Going To Get Someone Killed”

Cleveland, OH- Earlier this week, the city of Cleveland and the Justice Department established an agreement to make changes to the Cleveland Police Department, which will mandate several reforms to the department. The CPD has agreed to establish various committees, revise use-of-force policies, and improve training.

Within the agreement are reform measures that focus specifically on identifying levels of force used by police and requiring increased oversight of police use-of-force incidents via paper documentation and outside analysis.

Three levels of force used by police have been established:

  • Level 1 use of force is identified as actions expected to cause “transient pain and/or disorientation” such as bending a suspect’s fingers, according to Cleveland.com. It also includes unholstering and pointing a firearm, but not firing it. Level 1 use of force incidents require the officer to file a police report explaining the incident and why the officer felt the use of force was necessary.
  • Level 2 use of force is identified as actions that cause “an injury, could reasonably be expected to cause an injury, or results in a complaint of an injury, but does not rise to the level of a Level 3 use of force,” such as use of an ECW (also referred to as a Taser); use of pepper spray; kicking, striking and punching; and using a police canine to accost a suspect. Any use of Level 2 force on a handcuffed suspect becomes a level 3 use of force. Level 2 use of force incidents require the immediate arrival of a supervisor to the scene of the incident, who are then tasked with interviewing the injured individual, seeing that proper medical care is administered, and writing a report to be reviewed by the district commander, Internal Affairs Unit and the police chief to decide if the use of force is justified.
  • Level 3 use of force is identified as actions including “uses of lethal force; uses of force resulting in death or serious physical injury; uses of force resulting in
    hospital admission; all neck holds; uses of force resulting in a loss of
    consciousness; canine bites; more than three applications of an ECW
    on an individual during a single interaction, regardless of the mode or duration
    of the application, and regardless of whether the applications are by the same
    or different officers; or an ECW application for longer than 15 seconds,
    whether continuous or consecutive.” All cases of Level 3 use of force are subject to the invesigation of a new branch of the Internal Affairs Unit called the Force Investigation Team(FIT), which is tasked with arriving to the scene to complete a criminal investigation. The FIT will be “comprised of personnel from various units and will not be a new unit.”

Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association, takes issue with the documentation aspect of the reform agreement, claiming that the requirement is “going to get somebody killed.”

“I’m afraid that officers are going to be hesitant to pull their gun in an appropriate situation because they don’t want to do the paperwork that’s going to be associated with having to pull your gun,” he said.

According to Cleveland.com, Loomis believes the reforms are not necessarily tailored to Cleveland officers, but are a response to increased coverage of police use of force incidents that have occurred nationwide. “This is a political agenda,” Loomis said. “This has nothing to do with the actions of the men and women of the Cleveland police department.”

Sarah Childress, a reporter for PBS’s Frontline, notes that this is Cleveland’s second attempt at reforming their police department. “Over the last two decades, Cleveland’s police department is one of only five law enforcement agencies that has been subject to two separate federal investigations, underscoring how entrenched the city’s problems have become,” she wrote.

The Justice Department investigated the CPD in 1999 and had identified problems regarding properly addressing use of force incidents and examining its own officers. In 2014, the Justice Department published another investigation of the department and concluded that the CPD was engaging in a “pattern or practice of the use of excessive force” in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Lawsuit Response: City Claims Tamir Rice’s Death Was Caused By His Own Actions

Cleveland, OH- The city of Cleveland, in response to the 71-page lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice on January 30th, has claimed that the death of Tamir Rice and the subsequent injuries suffered by his family were “directly and proximately caused by the acts of Plaintiffs’ decedent.” Among the city’s 20 defenses in its answer to the family’s civil complaint was the assertion that the 12-year-old’s death was “caused by the failure of Plaintiffs’ decedent to exercise due care to avoid injury.”

In Cleveland’s answer to the complaint, it was noted that the city was unable to respond in full due to the ongoing police investigation into the incident. The investigation is currently being conducted by the Cuyahoga County sheriff’s office, and it’s unknown when that investigation will be completed.

Tamir was shot and killed by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann last November after a person dialed 911 reporting somebody with a “probably fake” gun. Tamir had a pellet gun in his possession. Surveillance video surfaced soon after the shooting, showing that Tamir was shot within two seconds of the arrival of Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback.

The family of Tamir Rice had originally filed a lawsuit in December 2014, but filed a larger amended lawsuit a month later after new details had emerged. The lawsuit made references to a Justice Department report of the Cleveland Police Department, released on December 4th, 2014, that had concluded that the agency believed the CPD “engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” Also in the amended lawsuit was the aftermath of the shooting of Tamir when his 14-year-old sister, Tajai, was tackled and thrown to the ground by police before being handcuffed and placed in a cruiser ten feet away from her dying brother.

The Rice family’s suit also included information about Loehmann, the officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice. Before joining the CPD, Loehmann was employed by the Independence Police Department, and personnel files from his time there revealed that he had been recommended to be released from the department due to documented “emotional perplexity” and an inability to properly handle firearms. During Loehmann’s firearm training he was found to be “distracted and weepy” and “could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal.” Loehmann was described as “not mature enough in his accepting of responsibility or his understanding in the severity of his loss of control on the range” and his superior felt that further training would not correct his behavior. Cleveland police admitted that they never saw the files before hiring Loehmann.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis described Tamir Rice last week as “menacing” and has defended Officers Loehmann and Garmback while dismissing the media’s scrutiny of Loehmann’s personnel file as a “sideshow”. “There’s this perception that police just slid up in the car and shot him. That’s not reality from the officers’ perception. They acted based on what they knew at the time,” Loomis said regarding the officers’ actions.

“Tamir Rice is in the wrong,” he said. “He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body. Tamir looks to his left and sees a police car. He puts his gun in his waistband. Those people- 99 percent of the time those people run away from us. We don’t want him running into the rec center. That could be a whole other set of really bad events. They’re trying to flush him into the field. Frank [the driver] is expecting the kid to run. The circumstances are so fluid and unique.”

Walter Madison, an attorney for the Rice family, said that the city’s response to the lawsuit is “incredulous at best. It’s unbelievable.”

“What the city officials have done for a 12-year-old is set a new standard for children in their response, and all of that assumes that they’re not responsible for hiring this guy who was emotionally unfit to be a police officer,” Madison said.


More information about the shooting of Tamir Rice is available here.

Cleveland Police Union President Argues Against City’s New Body Cameras

Cleveland, OH- Steve Loomis, who was recently elected President of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association after losing the position in 2011, publicly criticized body cameras that the city’s police officers have been assigned to wear this year.

“It’s going to create more controversy than it’s going to solve,” Loomis told Cleveland’s News Channel 5. Loomis believes that video quality of the body cameras will be poor. “What they see on the video is going to be subjective, it’s not going to be clear video,” Loomis said. “The video in times of aggressive police work is terrible.”

According to WCBE.org, Loomis also argued that body cameras are unconstitutional. “You don’t think, in this day and age, and in the situation that we’re in here, that there’s a lot better ways to spend that money? And the video is not going to be conclusive in most cases, and it’s gonna actually cause more harm than good. And then there’s constitutional issues. You know, I don’t have the right to come into your house and videotape your house, that’s a public record. Imagine Tamir Rice – and those officers had body cameras on – and that happened so quickly, that that rookie officer forgot to push that button on that camera. Imagine that, what the outcry would be. Put the cameras in the cars, and let’s see how that works.”

Cleveland city councilman Steve Zone countered that “Any bit of information that you can get is good, regardless of what the quality of the video is.” The Cleveland City Council approved a bill last year authorizing the Cleveland Police Department to buy 1,500 body cameras for $2.4 million. Zone said that money for two thirds of the cameras has been allocated, with the remainder of the money coming from a recently passed $100 million bond issue.

Loomis told News Channel 5 he would rather see money spent on more cameras in police cruisers to offer a “wider perspective” of police situations, as well as microphones for officers to wear. Cleveland’s officers are expected to begin wearing the body cameras at the end of this month.