CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association asked for the resignation of Cleveland Chief of Police Michael McGrath during a news conference on Wednesday.
The association called the conference to issue its stance on Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s investigation on the chase-turned-deadly shooting. DeWine called the events a “systemic failure” in the Cleveland Division of Police.
“The chief of police has been disappointing from the beginning,” CPPPA President Jeff Follmer said. Follmer described morale being at an all-time low and a lack of confidence in their chief.
“Systematic, no. There are policies and procedures and training in place,” said McGrath in a news conference following DeWine’s announcement.
The chase on Nov. 29 lasted 22-minutes, weaving into different Cleveland police districts before ending in East Cleveland. Cleveland officers fired more than a hundred rounds killing the driver, Timothy Russel, and his passenger, Malissa Williams.
“Two individuals had no regard for public safety,” Follmer said. “The use of deadly force could have been avoided if the suspects would have just stopped.”
“Officers were pursuing a vehicle that was perceived as firing a shot at police officers,” Follmer said. “These officers should be commended for their actions.” Instead, many of the officers face termination, suspension and demotion by a panel assembled by McGrath, Follmer said. He added that no officers should face any disciplinary action, based on what he has heard.
“That was pure hell for them. These are seasoned veterans… They’re not coming to do what they did that night.”