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 23 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."
Follmer called it a "perfect chase" because no civilians or officers were injured and there was no property damage. The officers blocked intersections and cleared the way for people who were a danger to public safety without stop sticks or a helicopter, Follmer said. The second district, where the chase originated, has two sets of broken stop sticks, the association president said.
"We're not up to date on equipment. Let's get up to the 2000s, not the 90s," Follmer said.
"We're going home at night. There have been too many instances where we haven't gone home. It's a split-second decision," Follmer said. "We're coming in numbers and we're all going home together."
Follmer also referred to the situation as "an active shooter." The BCI found that there was no gun inside the suspects' car and a search along the chase route turned up nothing.
The case has been turned over to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty who will present it to a grand jury to determine in the officers involved should face charges. Another police union representative called it strange that DeWine released the information before the prosecutor got the case.