Cuyahoga County prosecutor says Cleveland police union ‘just doesn’t get it’

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cuyahoga County’s top prosecutor is criticizing the head of Cleveland’s police union for questioning a sergeant’s decision to end a weekend high-speed chase.

Prosecutor Tim McGinty’s Monday statement criticized comments from Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association President Steve Loomis, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported. Loomis had earlier said the sergeant who made the call to end the high-speed pursuit of teen suspects in an armed robbery Sunday in Tremont should have let police do their jobs.

The sergeant called off the chase when a truck in the pursuit nearly struck a police car. Loomis said letting the suspects go would only embolden them in the future.

McGinty said the sergeant’s decision to call off the chase was the right one. He said the same decision should have been made in a November 2012 chase, when Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire. McGinty’s office is prosecuting the case of patrolman Michael Brelo, who is charged with voluntary manslaughter in those deaths. Closing arguments in the trial were scheduled for Tuesday.

McGinty said Loomis’ comments shows the police union “still just doesn’t get it.”

“There was no need Sunday night for another 62-car, 100-mph, 20-mile, high-speed, high-risk chase, through a highly populated area, for another circular firing squad where police officers nearly killed one another, or for another 137-shot barrage,” he said.

Officers had witnesses and could identify the vehicle’s owner through records, McGinty said.