The grand jury's decision not to pursue criminal charges in the case of the two Cleveland Police officers involved in the November 2014 shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice brought forward a subdued reaction from Police Union President Steve Loomis.
"It's twofold: obviously we're pleased with the result for our officers, but this is an absolute tragedy and we've maintained that from day one," Loomis said. "There's nothing good that's going to come from this."
"We had every confidence in the grand jury system and we would have respected their decision whatever that decision would have been and we would have dealt with it had it gone a different way. But there's no cause for celebration here. You won't see a police officer high-fiving, you won't see a gathering down in the union hall here, we're just glad this is the end result of it," Loomis said.
Loomis spoke with both officers after the prosecutor's announcement and said they both expressed extreme relief.
"Until you've been faced with the possibility of going to prison and know what that weight on your shoulders feels like, you can't imagine it."
"It's an incredible amount of pressure they've been under for the past year," he said.
The two officers have been working in clerical positions within the Justice Center and Loomis expects they'll stay in those roles in the short term until the police internal review of the shooting is concluded.
"I don't see any rule violations in this but that's the chief's decision to make," Loomis said.
There are positives, he argued, that have come out of this, most notably the training and equipment upgrades that were made in the aftermath related to providing first aid.
"I think it's noteworthy to say that there have been lessons learned from this on many, many different levels, the least of which is we have medical kits in the car now, we have training. We're responsible for six lives being saved directly as a result of this incident, this tragedy," Loomis said.He added, "While there is absolutely no upside to this issue, there are lessons that should and will be learned by all."
Read Loomis' full statement below.
While we will always have the utmost respect for the Criminal Justice system, we are pleased in the Grand Jury's thoughtful decision based on the facts of this tragic case.
From the onset, our hearts, thoughts and prayers have gone out to the Rice family as well as our involved officers and their families. There is NO cause for celebration and there will be none.
While there is absolutely no upside to this issue, there are lessons that should and will be learned by all.
We respect and appreciate the Grand Jury's ability to apply the law to the facts of this case without regard to emotion or the self-serving agendas of uninvolved others.