The head of the Cleveland police union expressed concerns Friday about officer safety at the upcoming Republican National Convention in the wake of the Dallas murders – while also criticizing politicians for “fact-less rhetoric” he suggested put officers’ lives at risk.
After a sniper killed five Dallas officers and wounded seven during an anti-police brutality protest, Fox 8 reported that Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis sent a letter to officers saying, “Several State Union leaders … have expressed their extreme concern for us during the RNC.”
The Cleveland police chief reportedly agreed to a new request from Loomis to pair up officers ahead of the convention, being held in the city. Loomis urged officers to “remain alert and extremely cognizant.”
Loomis also voiced frustration at President Obama and other officials he claims have “incited those who choose to believe the false narratives and premature conclusions of a very small albeit vocal group within our national population.”
He reportedly wrote: “When will the politicians learn that our lives stand in the balance of their politically motivated and fact-less rhetoric, not theirs?”
The Dallas attacks occurred at a tense time in the already frayed relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Many protested the fatal shootings by police of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this week. But after the brutal assault on law enforcement in Dallas, city leaders appealed for support and unity.
In Washington, House Speaker Paul Ryan asked for the country not to let the tragedy harden divisions.
“The blame lies with the people who committed these vicious acts and no one else,” he said.
On the campaign trail, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump canceled previously scheduled campaign events.
Still, tensions flared over everything from gun control to anti-police rhetoric.
Obama, speaking on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Poland, cited the shootings in renewing his push for gun control -- and faced immediate accusations from Republicans of politicizing the tragedy.
Meanwhile, former Illinois GOP Rep. Joe Walsh lashed out on Twitter at the president, saying: “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”
He later deleted the tweet, as he faced widespread criticism online for the comments. But he said in subsequent tweets that when leaders “hate” on cops, “eventually thugs on the street will go after Cops.”