CLEVELAND – Cleveland Police Officer Johnny Hamm, who is suing the city federally over a suspension he received in 2014, was promoted to lieutenant Monday.
Hamm field a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2015 after he received a 10 day suspension for posts he made on his personal Facebook account about the 2012 Cleveland police chase and fatal shooting.
According to federal court filings, the post made by Hamm stated that he felt the victims in the incident were the officers and society.
A federal judge ruled in September that Hamm’s posts were protected speech. A settlement conference on the lawsuit is scheduled for April.
City leaders, as well as an official with the Fraternal Order of Police, say Hamm is a good officer that deserved to be promoted.
Michael McGrath, director of public safety , said after passing a promotional exam Hamm’s name was placed on a promotional list. He said there was no reason not to promote him.
When asked if the prior 10-day suspension was a reason not to promote him, McGrath said no.
“That was in excess of two years ago,” McGrath said.
FOP President Brian Betley told Fox 8 that according to the police contract, after two years , prior discipline cannot be used against officers when they are seeking job assignments or promotions.
“I am sure Officer Hamm learned from that experience, and he will do great work as a lieutenant,” Betley said.