Grand jury indicts 6 in deadly police chase

CLEVELAND -- After nine months of testimony and deliberations, a grand jury has returned indictments against officers and supervisors involved in a deadly shooting that ended a November 2012 high speed police chase.

The grand jury indicted Police Officer Michael Brelo on two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of two unarmed people, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Both died in a hail of gunfire as the chase ended in East Cleveland.

According to prosecutors, Officer Brelo fired 49 shots, while standing on the hood of the victims' car. According to McGinty, Brelo fired at least 15 of those shots after the victims' car was fully stopped and escape not possible.

McGinty said his office did not recommend charges against the other 12 officers who fired shots.

The city says that Brelo will be suspended without pay until the outcome of the case against him.

The grand jury also indicted five police supervisors on misdemeanor counts of dereliction of duty for allowing the chase to grow out of control.

The city says those supervisors will be placed on restricted duty until the cases against them are completed.

Police Chief Calvin Williams asked people to remain calm as the cases continue toward their completion.

"This is a difficult thing for this city. ... It's always difficult when officers are indicted," said Chief Williams. "We will continue to be patient and allow the justice system to work. At this time we ask the citizens of the City of Cleveland to do the same in a calm and peaceful manner,"

Mayor Frank Jackson said, "What happened was and still is a tragedy for the City of Cleveland, the families....and the community at large."

The Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association said it was disappointed by the day's events.

"We were the good guys that night ... We were taking down two people that were committing numerous crimes," said Jeff Follmer, CPPA President.

Reaction also came in from the community. The Task Force for Community Mobilization, in conjunction with The International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment said in a written statement: "We would like to applaud the historic decision of the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury in indicting Officer Michael Brelo on manslaughter and several supervisors on dereliction of duty. We are however, disappointed with a lesser charge of manslaughter."

SPECIAL SECTION: Cleveland Police Chase Shooting

The chase started on the night of November 29, 2012 in downtown Cleveland and ended in a school parking lot in East Cleveland. It lasted 22 minutes and reached speeds in excess of 100 mph at times and involved an estimated one-third of the members of the police force on duty that night. More than 60 police cars were involved in the chase.

Williams and Russell died as 13 officers combined fired a barrage of 137 bullets at them at the end of the chase after their car had been stopped.

Attorney General Mike DeWine's office and the state crime lab, BCI, investigated the shooting. DeWine found the chase and shootings to be the result of a "systemic failure" within the department.

DeWine's office turned the findings over to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty's office which assembled the grand jury in the fall of 2013.

Extended coverage:


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment