CLEVELAND -- Clevelander Shana Roberts has never been in court before, even for jury duty. But she is one of a team of volunteers the NAACP will be sending to monitor the legal proceedings and trial in the case of Cleveland Police officer Michael Brelo.
It's the first time the group has had an organized Court Watch program.
The group wants to make sure the community gets a full and detailed report of how the justice system is performing dealing with the infamous case of a wild police chase and deadly shooting of unarmed suspects Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.
Roberts was upset by the case when it happened. "It was just totally mind-blowing, outrageous and frightening," she said.
James Hardiman, co-chair of the NAACP's Criminal Justice Committee and one of those who pushed for the Court Watch effort, said, "We consider this to be one of most egregious instances of excessive police force in the country... Enough is enough and the community has a right to know the criminal justice system is working or if its not working, they can take appropriate action to fix it."
Many in the group are angry that Brelo is the only officer facing criminal charges. Hardiman acknowledged many will be upset if he's not convicted.
NAACP Executive Director Sheila Wright said of the program, "We think it will send a message the community will not stand idly by and watch these things occur. We expect some accountability."
Roberts said she would be in court every day, if possible. She and about a dozen volunteers have been trained in courtroom behavior and etiquette.
Police Union President Jeff Follmer said, 'They can send whoever they want. The facts are the facts... Michael Brelo should be found not guilty."
A spokesman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said he welcomed citizen observers.
In court Wednesday, Brelo's lawyer asked for a March, 2015 trial. McGinty said his office would be ready to proceed as early as next month.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell is still deciding a trial date and other legal issues.
Follow WKYC's Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres on Twitter: @TomBeres