White Cleveland Officer Cleared In Shooting Of Unarmed Black Couple
The officer, who stood on the hood of a car in 2012 and shot two unarmed black men, was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O’Donnell, who reached the verdicts after a several-week bench trial, also ruled that Officer Michael Brelo was not guilty of two lesser-included counts of felonious assault…
The killings of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both African-American, were among several police incidents prompting outrage in Cleveland in the past few years, and was one of the cases highlighted by a 2014 Department of Justice report that found that Cleveland police had a pattern of using excessive force.
What led to the deaths of Russell and Williams, prosecutors said, was a chase that began when a car driven by Russell backfired — a noise that officers thought was caused by gunshots — in Cleveland on November 29, 2012.
More than 60 police cars pursued the vehicle for 20 miles, sometime hitting speeds more than 100 mph.
When the chase ended in a middle school parking lot, about a dozen officers fired 137 shots at Williams’ car, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGlinty said. Each was struck more than 20 times, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Of the 137 shots, according to prosecutors, the only ones that weren’t legally justified were the final 15, allegedly fired by Brelo, who is white.