CLEVELAND - A group of African-American ministers is joining the ranks of those criticizing the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Union and its president Steve Loomis for endorsing Donald Trump for President. They gathered today at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church here.
It's the first time the CPPA has backed a Presidential candidate.
It comes as the Cleveland Police Department is working to improve its relations with the community under terms of a federal consent decree that found police used excessive force and lacked accountability in its disciplinary process.
Loomis has said the group backed Trump because he has pledged to provide needed resources and manpower for police to do a better job fighting crime.
And it believes Democrat Hillary Clinton has taken anti-police positions in responding to shootings of African-Americans that are still being investigated.
Trump has pledged his support for departments in crime-ridden cities to use "stop and frisk" tactics.
Trump champion and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani came to Cleveland Tuesday to accept the group's backing and claimed Trump's proposed policies would help reduce crime..
The ministers said, "We are appalled, hurt and aroused as it pertains to the direction and endorsement of the CPPA's Presidential candidate Donald Trump."
In a statement, they claim "it has sent a message of division and separateness in this city....We are asking President Loomis to show that he cares about the healing or our community and that this is not an us-against-them city because we work and live together...We are the people of Cleveland. We deserve better from those whom we expect to serve."
The ministers join the NAACP, Black Lives Matter Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus in condemning the endorsement.