6 Cleveland Police Officers Indicted in Shooting Deaths of 2 Unarmed Suspects
Prosecutors say the officers sprayed 137 bullets in the shooting that is under federal investigation into the department’s use of deadly force.
By: Lynette Holloway
Posted: June 1 2014 7:53 AM
Cleveland Police officers indicted in shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects
A grand jury has indicted six Cleveland police officers in the deaths of two unarmed suspects, who were killed in a spray of 137 bullets after a wild car chase that ended in a schoolyard, the Associated Press reports.
The indictment on Friday is part of a far-reaching federal investigation into “the Cleveland Police Department’s use of deadly force and its pursuit policies,” the AP reports.
Since both suspects were black, the specter of racism hovers over the case and represents a major part of a federal investigation into the department, the AP says. Timothy Russell, the driver, was shot 23 times, and Malissa Williams, the passenger, was shot 24 times. No guns were found in their possession or inside the vehicle, the AP reports.
Cuyohoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty told the news site that the indictment was related to charges stemming from the November 2012 car chase, when patrol officer Michael Brelo reportedly “stood on the hood of the suspects’ car and fired at least 15 shots through the windshield.”
McGinty said the shootings occurred after the suspects had been subdued and the public safety threat was over, the AP says. The incident involved five dozen cruisers and raced through residential neighborhoods, onto Interstate 90 and eventually ended in East Cleveland, the AP says. McGinty said the chase covered 20 miles over 23 minutes and reached speeds of 110 mph.
“This was now a stop-and-shoot — no longer a chase-and-shoot,” McGinty said, according to the AP. “The law does not allow for a stop-and-shoot.”
Capt. Brian Betley, the leader of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents police supervisors, told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer that he was disappointed in the grand jury’s findings.