At least a hundred Black Lives Matter activists and allied groups protested Tuesday night against the decision by the Cleveland police union to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, which they say is a slap in the face to efforts against police brutality and killings of oppressed nationalities in the United States.
"Good people come in all ages and all colors," protester Nina McLellan told Cleveland.com. "I think we all need to stand together against what is happening in our country. Trump has allowed the latent racism in this country to emerge in many virulent forms."
The protesters gathered outside of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association – which represents 1,450 officers and staff – after the overwhelming vote to endorse Trump on Sept. 30. He received 216 votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 68 votes, according to local station Fox 8.
“It appears that Cleveland citizens are in the middle of a Hollywood good cop/bad cop routine, with the city’s mayor, city council, law director, and the Cleveland Division of Police on one side and the CPPA on the other side,” Black Lives Matter said after the endorsement, according to the Daily Caller.
Members of Black Lives Matter, SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice, Black on Black and the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus chanted slogans such as "Build bridges, not walls," and "I am my sibling's keeper," as they marched towards the union’s headquarters.
Reports suggested that Trump is the first presidential nominee to be endorsed by the union in its history.
"And when they do (endorse), the candidate they endorse is also endorsed by the Klan. It's obnoxious; it's outrageous and it's completely intolerable. We won't stand for it," neighborhood resident Aja Willowleaf told reporters.
Cleveland police faced major protests over the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 by a white police officer while he was playing in the park and holding a toy gun.
The same police union came under major criticism over a disturbing letter to Rice’s family saying they should use the US$6 million offered by the city of Cleveland in compensation for his deadly shooting to “educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”
The union’s president Stephen Loomis delivered yet another controversial letter to the protesters where he said his organization respects their right to protest but asked them to "be mindful that the men and women of the CPPA consider all lives sacred and that a police officer loses his/her life every 48 hours in this country," according to Cleveland website.
The letter ended with a message printed in bold: "ALL LIVES MATTER."
The protest was held the same day that Trump surrogate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke at the union hall to accept the CPPA's Trump endorsement.
The union joins several white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in the U.S. who have endorsed Trump for the presidency, including former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.