Following the shooting on Tamir Rice, 12, by a police officer, a fiscal manager for Cleveland’s Public Safety Department has resigned, saying he’s lost his faith in Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration. He also cited other controversies that have plagued the police and fire departments in recent years.
Shawn Gidley said in his letter of resignation which was dated Dec. 17th, that he once enjoyed his position and the work he did, “believing it was making the City of Cleveland a better place to live.”
Gidley wrote that three major controversies have destroyed that belief.
Gidley, who began working for the city in 2002, cited years of mismanagement, poor leadership and improper training in the Public Safety Department have “ended with a child paying the ultimate price.”
When rookie police officer Timothy Loehmann exited his vehicle, it took only two seconds before he opened fire on Tamir on Nov. 22, near a recreation center.
Tamir was holding a toy gun.
After shooting Tamir, no medical attention was given.
Cleveland police said an FBI agent showed up and administered CPR for nearly four minutes after the shooting.
Gidley’s letter also refers to the U.S. Justice Department’s recently released report concluding that use of excessive force by Cleveland police officers is the result of departmental deficiencies in training, management and disciplinary procedures.
“The Department of Public Safety and the City of Cleveland is no longer an employer for which I am proud to work,” Gidley concluded in his letter. “It does not provide the leadership that the residents of Cleveland deserve.”
Gidley went on to cite the 2011 Fire Department payroll scandal, in which city auditors uncovered years of abuse of the department’s shift trading policy.
Thirteen firefighters eventually pleaded guilty in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to the low-level charge of complicity to receiving unlawful compensation. All but one were suspended without pay. The most brazen of the shift-trade abusers, Calvin Robinson, who paid others to work 3-1/2 years worth of shifts, was fired in May.
The third controversy was the Nov. 29, 2012 police chase that ended in a hail of gunfire and the deaths of two unarmed suspects, Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine labeled the incident — which involved more than a third of the officers on duty that night — a “systemic failure” of the police department. Jackson continues to reject that characterization, blaming instead the poor decisions of a handful of officers, many of whom have since been disciplined. One officer and five supervisors were indicted, and the victims’ families recently received a $3 million settlement from the city.
Today was Gidley’s last day in office.
You can read the full letter at Cleveland.com.
H/T: The incomparable @CarlaAkins with thanks.
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