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Cleveland Police Union Says City Can't Stop Arbitration as Activists Demand

The scene of the Tamir Rice killing

Anger over this week’s grand jury decision not to indict the Cleveland police officers involved the shooting death of 12 year-old Tamir Rice has led to demands for changes.

A coalition of activists, including the Cleveland NAACP, want Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty out of office. They also want the City of Cleveland to amend its contract with the police union to prohibit arbitrators from forcing the city to rehired fired officers.

But Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis says the arbitration process is a state law established in 1985 in exchange for banning strikes by safety forces, and the city cannot rescind it. 

“It’s worked out tremendously; we win some and we lose some. But it’s as fair as it gets when we have these kinds of labor disputes, and some people don’t like it I guess, I don’t know. You can’t blame what’s going on now on the fact that we have collective bargaining and we have an arbitration process. That’s just ridiculous, it just doesn’t float.”    

The activists coalition and the NAACP also plans to ask a judge to release the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings.