Sunday night Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams issued a statement to the City of Cleveland regarding the police department's relationship with the Cleveland Browns.
On Saturday, The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis told WKYC they will no longer take part in the Browns' opening day ceremonies on Sept. 10th.
Members of the union had been scheduled to help hold the American flag before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with military members and other law enforcement officers. After several members of the team decided to kneel during the national anthem prior to a preseason game, however, Loomis and the union decided they would no longer participate, along with Cleveland EMS workers.
Below is the statement from Chief Williams:
Recent statements made by the President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association would lead one to believe that members of the Cleveland Division of Police are against participating in events with our Cleveland Browns athletes. This is simply not the viewpoint of all of our officers. The Cleveland Browns Organization has been a longtime partner of the Cleveland Division of Police, donating and assisting (many times quietly) to our Police Athletic League and hosting events with kids in the city's Muny League Football . We know that we can count on this partnership to continue.
As law enforcement officers, we took an oath to serve and to protect. We protect the rights of all citizens to express their views as protected by the First Amendment of our constitution, no matter the issue. Our American flag is an important symbol to our great country and we, as officers, will continue to salute it.
More importantly, we as Cleveland Police Officers strive to open the lines of communication with all of our citizens--athletes and enthusiastic Browns fans alike. Who are we kidding?! We are CLEVELAND!! And we stay strong together. We stand together.
Moving forward, I can tell you that we within the Cleveland Division of Police are in communication with the Cleveland Browns Organization as we have been in the past. We want to hear from our players, the fans and our citizens of this great city. We want to bridge the gap. We want to talk.
I look forward to a continued partnership with our CLEVELAND athletes, our community and a great BROWNS season!!!
Chief Calvin D. Williams
Cleveland Division of Police