A day after calling Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins “pathetic” for wearing a “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” t-shirt on the field, the president of the Cleveland police union called the killing of the 12-year-old “justified.”
Jeffrey Follmer appeared on All in with Chris Hayes Monday to defend his comments about Hawkins’ silent protest and his opinion on the shooting of Tamir Rice. The child was killed for holding a toy gun at an Ohio-area playground. The officer, who was deemed “unfit” for his previous police job, shot Tamir within 1.7 seconds of arriving on the scene.
“He’s calling for justice on two officers that were called to do their job with a male that had a gun inside a park,” Follmer said of Hawkins’ Sunday protest.
Just a day before, Follmer suggested that because Hawkins is an athlete, he shouldn’t talk police or politics. But Hawkins hit back Monday, telling media that justice should be the goal of every American.
“As you all know,” Hawkins said, “and it’s well documented, I have a 2-year-old little boy. … That little boy is my entire world. The No. 1 reason for me wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin scares the living hell out of me.”
As he spoke, Hawkins’ voice broke more and more.
“And my heart was broken for the parents of Tamir [Rice] and John Crawford, knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality,” he said. “So like I said, I made the conscious decision to wear the T-shirt. I felt like my heart was in the right place. I’m at peace with it. And those who disagree with me, this is America. That’s the point. Everyone has the right to their First Amendment rights.”
Follmer disagreed. He continued his dissent in his interview:
“They had to defend themselves and use deadly force on him. It’s not a call for justice, it was justified…We’re not apologizing for anything. They are disrespecting our officers on a job we do everyday.”
On Monday, Tamir’s mother told media she has yet to receive an apology for the killing of her son.
Watch Follmer’s comments above.