Young Turks host Cenk Uygur blasted Cleveland Patrolmen’s Association head Jeffrey Follmer on Tuesday for his insistence that the shootings of Tamir Rice and John Crawford by local officers were justified.
“Just, for Christ’s sake, be a human for a second,” Uygur said. “And say, ‘We’re so sorry that [a] 12-year-old kid died, man. Obviously we didn’t mean that.’ Is that too hard to say? Is that too hard to say — ‘We didn’t mean to kill your 12-year-old son. We’re so sorry about that.'”
Uygur showed footage of Follmer telling MSNBC host Ari Melber on Monday that Officer Timothy Loehmann was justified in shooting and killing Rice last month, citing footage of the fatal encounter that showed Loehmann killing Rice just two seconds after pulling up near him at a local park.
“The male’s action spoke for itself,” Follmer said. “The video clearly shows, and by the officers’ statement, that they were justified in the deadly force.” Later he added, “This shooting was tragic, but it was justified.”
Follmer also said to Melber, “How about this? Listen to police officers commands, listen to what we tell you, and just stop. I think that eliminates a lot of problems. I have kids too, they know how to respect the law. They know what to do when a police officer comes up to them.”
“You killed him in two seconds — [Rice] didn’t have time to listen to what you said,” Uygur said in response. “This Orwellian prick; we just saw the video, we’ve seen the video a million times. You pull up and you shoot him. You pull up and you shoot him. One-one thousand, two-one thousand and he’s dead.”
Records show that Loehmann joined the Cleveland police force after being declared unfit for duty while working for the department in suburban Independence, Ohio.
His deputy chief there, Jim Polak, described Loehmann as “just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training” and found that he “could not follow simple directions” after having to be escorted from a live fire area after having an “emotional meltdown.”
Follmer has also criticized Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins for wearing a shirt saying, “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” before his game this past Sunday. But WJW-TV reported that Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams distanced the department from those remarks on Tuesday.
“It is important to note that the comments made by Mr. Folmer do not represent the views of the Cleveland Division of Police,” Williams said in a statement. “The Division of Police respects the rights of individuals to peacefully demonstrate their personal views and opinions. Mr. Hawkins was certainly well within his rights to express his views and no apology is necessary.”
Watch Uygur’s commentary, as posted online on Tuesday, below.