Police Union Head Says 12-Year-Old Was Threat To Cleveland Cop: ‘Absolutely’

|
December 16, 2014 5:02 p.m.

The head of the Cleveland Police Patrolman Union on Monday got into a tense on-air debate, calling the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice “justified” and arguing the child was “absolutely” a threat to the officer who shot him.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber, the union president Jeffrey Follmer criticized Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins for wearing a T-shirt calling for justice in the killing. The union previously described the football player as “pathetic” in a statement.

But soon the conversation became heated. Follmer referred to the slain 12-year-old as “the male” throughout the interview and defended the officer.

“The video clearly shows, and by the officer’s statement, that they were justified in the deadly force,” Follmer said.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

“You’re saying that the video clearly shows that the 12-year-old boy was an imminent lethal threat to the officers?” Melber asked.

“Oh, absolutely. I don’t know if you didn’t see it, but yeah absolutely,” the officer replied.

Melber stated that many have disagreed with Follmer’s characterization of the video, which shows a police car pull up to Rice — who was carrying a non-lethal pellet gun — and shoot the boy dead within seconds.

Eventually, Follmer dismissed Melber’s questions about excessive force and wrapped up the debate with a message to Americans.

“How about this: Listen to police officers’ commands. Listen to what we tell you, and just stop,” he said. “I think that eliminates a lot of problems.”

“I think the nation needs to realize that when we tell you to do something, do it,” he added.

Watch the clip, courtesy of MSNBC:

Latest Livewire
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Audience Development Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: