Police Unions Get Testy Response at Community Meeting
White, Black and Hispanic officers came to the meeting organized by Councilman Zack Reed.
They acknowledged the department has problems. One said it's "in crisis." Another said police need more training.
But they also said the community needs more parenting classes and that young people need to be taught responsible citizenship.
Reed attempted to moderate discussion, but he quickly lost control. At one point Patrolman Union President Steve Loomis took umbrage at something shouted about him.
"Don't call me a liar, sir," he responded.
Again and again, Reed stepped in with little effect.
Hispanic officer Cesar Herrera showed his frustration with the crowd.
"Where do you think I live, where do you think I grew up," he said. "I'm a Clevelander. I'm one of you. Just because I put on the uniform doesn't make me from another planet."
The pastor scolded those who had drowned out others.
"This is not the way to resolve anything," he said.
Gerald Henry, who was in the church, agreed, but he blamed Councilman Reed for trying to control the meeting.
Reed insisted that people submit written questions which he then read from the podium.
"That's not a conversation," Henry said. "It's an invitation for a feeding frenzy."