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Cleveland: Pursuit tapes, officers' names released

9:00 AM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid said the State Bureau of Investigation is taking lead on the deadly pursuit investigation.

In a 3-minute press conference Monday afternoon, Reid said the East Cleveland Police department and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office will also assist BCI in its investigation.

Reid stressed that the investigation "...will be handled fairly and objectively..."

Reid said the police audio recordings the night of the incident, as well as the names of the 13 officers involved in the incident, will be released to the public.

Just before 5 p.m. Monday, the name of the officers involved and the audio tapes were released.

The officers joined the department between 1996 to 2011. There is one female officer and the rest are men.

Five detectives were also involved. Their appointment dates range from 1982 to 1999. One of the detectives was a woman, the other four were men.

They are:

  • Patrol Officer Wilfredo Diaz #350 Appointment Date: 11-03-08
  • Patrol Officer Michael Brelo #416 Appointment Date: 10-15-07
  • Patrol Officer Cynthia Moore #1277 Appointment Date: 10-15-07
  • Patrol Officer Michael Farley #409 Appointment Date: 04-08-96
  • Patrol Officer Brian Sabolik #1021 Appointment Date: 01-10-11
  • Patrol Officer Paul Box #2526 Appointment Date: 08-19-96
  • Patrol Officer Randy Patrick #1580 Appointment Date: 08-04-97
  • Patrol Officer Scott Sistek #1395 Appointment Date: 02-25-08
  • Detective Michael Demchak #1621 Appointment Date: 10-23-82
  • Detective Erin O'Donnell #1027 Appointment Date: 09-28-98
  • Detective Christopher Ereg #767 Appointment Date: 08-30-99
  • Detective Michael Rinkus #2182 Appointment Date: 01-06-92
  • Detective William Salupo #1969 Appointment Date: 02-17-98

According to their records, court records and other published reports:

  • Detective Michael Demchak and Detective Erin O'Donnell were named in a 2009 lawsuit that was filed by a state corrections officer alleging excessive force, court records show. The lawsuit alleges the following: The incident occurred in 2009 when Corrections Officers Martin Robinson and Jennifer Jones were working at the Northeast Pre-Release Center in Cleveland. The Corrections Officers, wearing state issued uniforms, were on the perimeter when two plainclothes Cleveland Police officers approached them to see what they were doing. It was dark out. The Cleveland officers pulled their weapons. Demchak and O'Donnell arrived soon after and got out of their police car. All four officers then tackled Robinson and placed him under arrest. Robinson's head bounced off the ground several times during the altercation. The lawsuit was later settled with the city paying $900,000.
  • Patrol Officer Michael Brelo was involved in an incident on July 9, 2011, where a juvenile suspect attempted to drive away while Brelo was reaching for the keys in the ignition, police records show. The vehicle's door struck Brelo and his partner, Liz Galarza, as it backed up at a high rate of speed. Galarza then fied her weapon one time (the bullet struck the passenger compartment). After the vehicle crashed into an oncoming police car. Brelo arrested the suspect.
  • Police Officer Michael Rinkus was one of nine officers involved in a shooting on Sept. 7, 2011, police records show. The police call began when a suspect shot his girlfriend in front of their child. Rinkus was of the officers who responded. They found the suspect on the front porch. The suspect ignored calls to drop his weapon and ran. Police chased him. On three occasions, the suspect placed a gun to his head and told officers to shoot him. After the third time, the suspect pointed the gun at officers, who returned fire. Rinkus fired 8 rounds. There were 23 shots in all.
  • Rinkus was also sued in 2005 by a suspect alleging excessive use of force. The complaint says that CPD used a confidential informant to purchase drugs from the suspect on Oct. 28, 2004. During the purchase, police officers rushed the suspect's car and he attempted to drive away. Police pursued and stopped the suspect's car a short time later. They then smashed the car's driver side window and dragged the suspect out of the car through the door. "They proceeded to beat him unmercifully about the head and various other parts o f his body." The suspect sustained numerous injuries, including multiple facial fractures. The case was later dismissed.
  • Patrol Officer Michael Farley was involved in a shooting in July 2003, according to the Plain Dealer story at the time. He and his partner were responding to a domestic disturbance. The officers and the suspect exchanged a barrage of gunfire on the following a chase. The shooting started after the suspect shot at the police cruiser, and the bullet when through the car door and struck Farley's partner in the hip.
  • Patrolman Christoper Ereg was sued in October, 2012 by a suspect alleging excessive use of force. The complaint says that Ereg put handcuffs on the suspect and refused to loosen them when the suspect complained the cuffs were too tight. When she complained again, Ereg and another unknown officer said, "Well, I'll leave them on a little longer." The suspect later required surgery that included removal of the left dorsal wrist ganglion.

In a press conference earlier Monday, Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath only identified the 13 officers as "...12 Caucasian, one Hispanic..."

East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts joined Reid, saying "It's going to be a lengthy investigation."

"The County Sheriff's department is doing everything they can to identify what occurred," Sheriff Reid said, in a press release. "We want to assure communities this serious incident will be handled fairly and objectively."

The chase began on St. Clair Avenue last Thursday night after an occupant inside a vehicle was thought to have fired a shot at police.

In the end, police fired 137 rounds at the two people inside the vehicle, killing both of them.

Last Friday, East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts confirmed there was no gun or weapon found in the vehicle they had been pursuing.

No shell casings were found in the vehicle either.

Those shot and killed have been identified as Timothy Ray Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30.

As a result of the incident, 13 officers involved were placed on administrative leave.

This is the third press conference held Monday regarding the deadly police pursuit in which two people were shot in a burst of gunfire.

The first press conference was held at 12:15 p.m. by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who discussed the lengthy process the investigation will undergo and laid out his five concerns about the situation.

The second press conference was held at 2 p.m. with an attorney representing the family of one of the two people killed.

In that press conference, members of the family talked about the loss of their loved one. 


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