Cleveland Officer Who Insisted Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams Were 'Not Victims' Wants to Get on the Community Police Commission

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As Eric Heisig reports, another Cleveland police officer with a notable community engagement backstory wants a seat on the Cleveland Community Police Commission. Sgt. Johnny Hamm, who was suspended for social media posts relating to Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams three years ago, is seeking the vacant position.

The gist is that, in 2014, Hamm argued that the police offices involved in the shooting deaths of Russell and Williams — officers like Michael Brelo — were the victims of those events. "The criminals are not victims," he wrote. "Has anyone considered the possibility that these two career criminals were trying to commit suicide by cop." (sic)

Read his Facebook comments below.

A federal judge ruled that Hamm's comments were constitutionally protected free speech. But tactful? That's for the court of public opinion, which is lively these days in Cleveland, and for the current commission members to debate.

Hamm's interest follows news that Lt. Paul Baeppler is also seeking the position.

Mario Clopton-Zymler, a member of the CleCoPoCo, responded to a message from Scene yesterday: "As we continue in the reform efforts, which require also building trust and legitimacy between the CDP and the community, in the Consent Decree process, and the CPC's work, the proposed selection of police officers with questionable interactions with the community will not necessarily advance those goals."

Neither Hamm nor Baeppler have been confirmed yet.



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