Six Cleveland Police officers were indicted Friday on charges related to a car chase that resulted in 137 bullets being fired into a car with 2 unarmed suspects in it.
Patrol officer Michael Brelo, who the prosecutor said stood on the hood of the suspects’ car and fired at least 15 shots through the windshield, has been charged with two counts of manslaughter. Five supervisors have been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to control the chase.
McGinty cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week that said police can’t fire on suspects after a public safety threat has ended. He said the other officers on the scene had stopped firing after the November 2012 chase ended.
“This was now a stop-and-shoot – no longer a chase-and-shoot,” McGinty said. “The law does not allow for a stop-and-shoot.”
Timothy Russell, who was driving the vehicle, was shot 23 times. Passenger Malissa Williams was shot 24 times. No gun was found on them or in their vehicle.
Officers started pursuing the vehicle after an officer thought he heard a gunshot from a car speeding by the police and courts complex. He radioed for backup as he chased the car. Police don’t know why Russell didn’t stop.
Brelo fired 49 shots, none of the other 12 officers who fired shots were indicted.
The killings have been billed as a racially motivated execution by some as both victims were black. The case is part of a larger federal investigation into the troubled police department. The chase involved 5 dozen cruisers and spanned a distance of more than 20 miles.
The supervisors indicted on misdemeanor dereliction of duty charges were Lt. Paul Wilson, Sgt. Patricia Coleman, Sgt. Randolph Dailey, Sgt. Michael Donegan and Sgt. Jason Edens.
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