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Jeffrey Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said that the police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was "justified," while speaking on MSNBC Monday night.
Rice was carrying a pellet gun in a Cleveland playground when an officer shot him within two seconds of exiting his cruiser on November 22, surveillance footage showed. A grand jury is currently deliberating whether to bring charges against the officer.
Follmer went on air Monday to reiterate criticism of Cleveland Browns football player Andrew Hawkins, who on Sunday wore a shirt on field calling for Justice for Rice and John Crawford, a black 22-year-old shot dead by police inside an Ohio Walmart as he held a toy sold in that store. A grand jury decided not to indict officers involved in Crawford's death.
The union chief called Hawkins' actions "pathetic," telling MSNBC, "It's not a call for justice, they were justified." He said the two officers called to the scene of Rice's death had to "defend themselves" with deadly force against the 12-year-old.
"Cleveland police officers work with the Cleveland Browns hand-in-hand, and when he disrespects two of our police officers, he disrespects everybody else," he said.
Regarding the deaths of these young black men, which have further stoked mass national protests against police killings, Follmer said, "We're not apologizing to anyone."
The video below shows surveillance footage of Rice's shooting: