CLEVELAND, OH – Cleveland police union president Steve Loomis is under investigation by the department’s internal affairs unit after he wore his dress uniform to a rally for Donald Trump in Akron.
Loomis, the president of the union that represents the city’s rank-and-file officers, was spotted in the crowd at the rally. A police spokeswoman said the investigation is being handled in the Integrity Control branch of internal affairs, specifically the inspections unit.
Loomis previously told cleveland.com that he was invited by friends to the Aug. 22 rally for the Republican presidential candidate, not the Trump campaign. Loomis said Wednesday that he went to the rally while off duty, drove his personal car and attended the rally in his official capacity as the head of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association.
“We all wore our uniforms every day of the RNC and took pictures and video with Mr. Trump, a host of Republican politicians, supporters and media, both on and off duty,” Loomis said in a text message. “The men and women of the CPPA represented the City of Cleveland on an international sage in grand fashion.”
The union voted Sept. 30 to publicly endorse Trump for president, the first time the union ever endorsed a presidential candidate.
Several officers told cleveland.com that they worried a vote to endorse Trump could risk eroding the relationship between officers and minority communities. The department has been working to rebuild those relationships after a series of controversial deaths involving police.
Lynn Hampton, the president of the union representing black officers worried the vote for Trump — who has made a series of statements that have drawn criticism from black and Hispanic voters — could divide the community.
“It’s a sad day in Cleveland, as far as I’m concerned,” Black Shield president Lynn Hampton said Saturday in a phone interview with cleveland.com after the endorsement. “I don’t think it’s a good thing while we’re in this paradigm shift of reform in our department.”
The Black Shield is expected to hold a Thursday afternoon press conference to again address the endorsement in the wake of the release of the 2005 Access Hollywood footage that showed the GOP nominee making explicit remarks about women. In the footage, Trump described how his celebrity allowed him to grope women with impunity.
When asked Tuesday whether the union could continue to back a candidate who made such statements, Loomis declined to comment.
Photos of police officers elsewhere with Trump have been a matter of controversy.
The Summit County Sheriff drew ire after he published a photo of SWAT team officers posing with Trump in the department’s news letter that was posted on Facebook. Sheriff Steve Barry, a Democrat, told WJW-TV that the photo was not intended to be an endorsement for Trump.
“This was nothing to do with politics,” Barry said.
Twelve San Antonio police officers will be disciplined after a video surfaced of them wearing “Make America Great Again” hats while shaking hands with Trump, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
In Phoenix, the city has issued a cease-and-desist order to the Trump campaign after they used a photo of him with in-uniform and on-duty officers during a campaign stop there, the Arizona Republic reported.
“The officers depicted in the ad were in uniform precisely because they were on duty performing work for Phoenix at the time,” Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm wrote. “In this context, the ad unmistakably and wrongfully suggests that Phoenix and the officers support or endorse Mr. Trump’s campaign.”