CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The head of the Cleveland police union on Sunday urged Ohio's governor to declare a state of emergency and to suspend laws allowing the open carrying of firearms during the Republican National Convention, after the shooting of six police officers in Louisiana.

"I don't care what the legal precedent is, I feel strongly that leadership needs to stand up and defend these police officers," Steve Loomis, the head of the police union, told Reuters in an interview at the union's headquarters on Sunday. The four-day convention is due to begin on Monday.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer, writing by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Howard Goller)