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Published: Thursday, 5/22/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

Firefighters ask councilman to resign

Union joins police in criticizing Sykes

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
City Councilman Larry Sykes said he’s ‘moved on’ related to his profiling accusation of two Toledo police officers. City Councilman Larry Sykes said he’s ‘moved on’ related to his profiling accusation of two Toledo police officers.
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The union representing Toledo’s firefighters joined the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association in calling for the resignation of Councilman Larry Sykes, whose allegations of police profiling were deemed unfounded.

Jeff Romstadt, president of Toledo Firefighters Local 92, sent a letter Tuesday to Mr. Sykes, stating the councilman’s accusation “demonstrates a profound lack of judgment and an unpardonable breach of the public’s trust.”

When reached by phone on Wednesday, Mr. Sykes said he had not received the letter and could not comment on it.

“I’ve moved on with my life,” said Mr. Sykes, a former Toledo Board of Education member who was elected to council in November. “ … There’s no story. You guys have covered everything there is to be covered. Right or wrong, I’ve moved on and I’m not going to comment any more about this topic.”

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Letter from Toledo Police Patrolman‘s Association to Councilman Sykes

Letter from Toledo Firefighters Local 92 to Councilman Sykes

Mr. Sykes, who is black, was pulled over by two white Toledo police officers April 24 and, several days later, wrote a letter to Chief William Moton claiming that he had been profiled.

The letter prompted an internal investigation that ultimately found that the two officers, Derek Cranford and David Sprott, were justified in stopping Mr. Sykes, who did not have a front license plate and had a plastic cover obstructing the readability of his back plate.

Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association, immediately called for Mr. Sykes to resign. On Monday, Mr. Wagner mailed the councilman a letter asking for his formal resignation. Mr. Wagner said Wednesday if the union does not hear from Mr. Sykes by next week, it plans to ask for a censure. A censure from council would not affect Mr. Sykes’ ability to serve on council, but is simply a formal disapproval.

“These are probably the worst accusations you an make against a police officer,” Mr. Wagner said. “It’s probably very easy for him to move on, but had it not been for the camera system, this may have turned out a very different way.”

An in-car video recorded the traffic stop and ultimately led Toledo police internal affairs investigators to rule Mr. Sykes’ allegations unfounded.

Mr. Romstadt said the executive board of Local 92 met Friday and voted to support “our brothers in blue.”

“Safety forces, in the city of Toledo, we stand side-by-side with one another,” Mr. Romstadt said. “We have to have their backs and they have our backs. We’ve asked Larry to step down, and hopefully he’ll do what’s in the best interest of the city.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.


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