Police union chief calls killing of 12-year-old justified
UPDATE: Cleveland Division of Police Chief Calvin D. Williams has issued a statement:
“It is important to note that the comments made by Mr. Folmer do not represent the views of the Cleveland Division of Police. The Division of Police respects the rights of individuals to peacefully demonstrate their personal views and opinions. Mr. Hawkins was certainly well within his rights to express his views and no apology is necessary.”
After being voted out as the Cleveland police union presidency and in the wake of the blistering Department of Justice investigation that revealed evidence of systemic abuse within the CPD department, Jeffrey Follmer was on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, discussing the Tamir Rice shooting — one which he called “justified” — and the disagreement over a Browns wide receiver sporting a T-shirt message and demanding justice for Rice and police shooting victim John Crawford III.
The first half of the segment revolved around a choked-up Andrew Hawkins, whose Tamir Rice T-shirt made the police union all angry this week. He said he sported the message for his son, whose future as a black man in America is of great concern to him.
“We’re not apologizing to anybody,” Follmer said. “They need to do it to us.”
There was an interesting back-and-forth late in the segment as Follmer was being interviewed by host Ari Melber.
AM: “When you say that he, as we read your statement, doesn’t know the facts of the law, how you do apply that logic? Wouldn’t that apply to any citizen who may not be a police expert but has some legitimate view of police conduct? 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?”
JF: “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, in the deadly force.”