CLEVELAND, Ohio — A civilian review board recommended discipline for former Cleveland Police Patrolmen Association president Steve Loomis for disparaging Facebook posts, including two about Cleveland police’s Black Shield Association president.
The Civilian Police Review Board recommended Tuesday that Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams suspend Loomis, a homicide detective, for six to 10 days. Williams has discretion on whether or not to follow the board’s recommendation.
Office of Professional Standards investigator Julie Delaney gave the board a summary of the investigation during the hearing.
Loomis made several posts about Cleveland Police Black Shield Association president Vincent Montague after Montague spoke about the need for police accountability during a Cleveland Bar Association event in June.
Another of Loomis’ posts took aim at Montague, who spoke during an event organized by Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones about police killings of unarmed Black residents following the death of George Floyd.
Loomis, in one post, said Montague spoke with a “forked tongue” and “hypocrisy” when Montague spoke about the need for officers to be held accountable and be transparent. Montague in 2013 shot an unarmed Black motorist in downtown Cleveland and received a one-day suspension.
Loomis in another post called former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who led a nationwide debate on police use of force against unarmed Black men by kneeling during the national anthem — “Martin Luther Kapernick,” and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield “Baker Sharpton.” Mayfield had said in the summer of 2020 that he planned to kneel during the national anthem. Mayfield later reversed his decision.
In another post, Loomis made a disparaging reference about the funeral of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked nationwide protests, Delaney said.
Delaney did not give any other specific details about the posts. She said one person complained to OPS anonymously, and another person later submitted a separate complaint.
Delaney said Loomis admitted to investigators that he posted the items on his public Facebook page. Those posts were not available on Tuesday.
Delaney also said OPS investigators looked at case law about when the First Amendment protects social media posts from a public employee and when a department could discipline employees for social media posts. She said OPS determined Loomis was speaking in his capacity as a police officer and that the posts had a detrimental impact on his ability to perform his role as a police officer.
Loomis did not return a message seeking comment. CPPA president Jeff Follmer said in a statement: “We are no different than any other Americans we have freedom speech. We will are looking forward to our day in front of the chief.”
Loomis lost a 2017 union election to Follmer by 38 votes, in part because he upset Black Shield members about having the union vote to endorse Donald Trump for president and for criticizing Browns players who knelt during the national anthem.