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Courts and Crime

Cleveland's police union calls for Chief McGrath to resign
Union leadership blames McGrath for poor morale following a state report this week that castigated the department for a November shooting

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Jeff St. Clair
CPPA President Jeff Follmer, flanked by members of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, blames Chief of Police Michael McGrath for the department's poor morale and called for his resignation.
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In The Region:

The union representing Cleveland’s police officers wants Chief Michael McGrath to resign.

During a press conference today, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association said the chief’s lack of support has disappointed officers throughout the investigation into a car chase last November that ended in the controversial shooting deaths of two people.

The press conference was in response to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s report that "systemic failures" caused the 22-minute chase involving 62 units, ending in East Cleveland. Officers fired nearly 140 rounds at driver Timothy Russell and his passenger, Malissa Williams.

Williams and Russell apparently had no weapons. And the shootings have led to community protests.

Jeff Follmer CPPA

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But Follmer says deadly force could have been avoided if Williams and Russell had just stopped. Police officers have said they thought the two had fired shots at them. They also say Russell tried to ram a police cruiser during the pursuit. Follmer says the officers were doing their job and should be commended.

Brian Betley of the Fraternal Order of Police says Attorney General DeWine should not have released details of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s report to the public before submitting it to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor. 

Betley says the officers he represents feel betrayed by the Attorney General’s assertion that the department suffers from ‘systemic failures.’ Betley says state investigators were tasked with gathering the facts and not rendering any opinions or recommendations, "when, in fact, the last part of his (DeWine's) statements was entirely throwing the City of Cleveland, the Division of Police, and everybody under the bus with his opinions."

Betley also insists that officers involved in the chase and eventual shooting of Russell and Williams on Nov. 29th  acted appropriately.

Police Chief McGrath and Mayor Frank Jackson are continuing to investigate whether the scores of officers who joined the chase and the 13 officers who opened fire on Russell and Williams acted according to police protocol or should be disciplined.

Here is the link to the report by Attorney General Mike DeWine on the Nov. 29 chase and shooting:         

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