July 26, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
82°F
test

UPDATED: 6 Cleveland officers plead not guilty in car chase

 Six Cleveland police officers, front row from left, Sgt. Randolph Dailey, Sgt. Patricia Coleman and patrolman Michael Brelo; second row from left, Sgt. Jason Edens, Sgt. Michael Donegan, and Lt. Paul Wilson, wait for their arraignment in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Friday. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Chuck Crow)

Six Cleveland police officers, front row from left, Sgt. Randolph Dailey, Sgt. Patricia Coleman and patrolman Michael Brelo; second row from left, Sgt. Jason Edens, Sgt. Michael Donegan, and Lt. Paul Wilson, wait for their arraignment in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Friday. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Chuck Crow)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Six Cleveland police officers charged for their roles in a November 2012 car chase that ended with a hail of 137 gunshots and the deaths of two unarmed suspects pleaded not guilty Friday to various crimes.

The six officers were arraigned in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and were released on bond.

Patrolman Michael Brelo faces the most serious charges, two counts of manslaughter, in the deaths of the driver, 43-year-old Timothy Russell, and his 30-year-old passenger, Malissa Williams.

Brelo, 30, is accused of jumping on the hood of Russell’s car after the initial salvo and unloading his weapon, firing 15 rounds that have been described as fatal to Russell and Williams. Brelo fired a total of 49 rounds that night.

Russell was shot 23 times and Williams 24 times. No gun was found on them or in the vehicle. The chase began when an officer thought he heard a gunshot from a car speeding by the police and courts complex, jumped into his patrol car and radioed for help. Police don’t know why Russell didn’t stop.

Five supervisors have been charged with dereliction of duty, a misdemeanor, for failing to control officers. Cleveland safety officials have said 104 of the 277 officers on duty that night participated in the chase, which covered 20 miles over 23 minutes and reached speeds of 110 mph.

Attorney Patrick D’Angelo spoke after Friday’s arraignment on behalf of the attorneys representing the six officers.

D’Angelo, who is one of three attorneys representing Brelo, asked people not rush to judgment about what occurred on Nov. 29, 2012.

“We intend to fight this case,” he said. “We feel the officers all acted within the bounds of the law are not guilty of these charges.”

The killings in the parking lot of a suburban Cleveland elementary school have been decried as a racially motivated execution — both victims were black — and are part of a larger federal investigation into the troubled police department.

U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Cleveland Police Department’s policies governing vehicle pursuits and the use of deadly force. The department changed its pursuit policy after the episode, limiting when and how long patrol cars can chase suspects. Five dozen cars were involved in the chase.

An investigation by the Ohio attorney general blamed police leadership and communications failures for what happened. County prosecutor Tim McGinty said investigating the chase was complicated by the fact that Cleveland cruisers don’t have video cameras.

City officials recently announced that a pilot program is underway to equip officers with body cameras.

  • Bob

    Although Brelo went a little overboard. But like I said from the begin. None of this would have happened if the guy would have just pulled over.

    • Razorback Twou

      Hey Bob, when you divide 49 by 15 you get 3.2. That tells me Brelo had to reload at least three times. What happened, did his finger get tired? Thats manslaughter and should be in anybodys book. If you have to charge cops then you know its bad. They all need to face up to what they did and not hide behind the law. Nobody made them become a cop, they asked for the job and trained for it and tested for it. They abused the faith put in them and killed two unarmed people. Wake up Bob.

      • Bob

        If they had stopped instead of running. Then there would not have been any need for the excessive force.

        You wake up. If the two unarmed people would have pulled over and taken their punishment. They would probably still be alive today.

        But I did say that the use of forces was overboard.

        • Razorback Twou

          “any need for the excessive force.” Then you condone the use of excessive force? The key word here is “excessive”. At no time is excessive permissible ,the definition of the word should tell you that. Do you read what you post?

  • Otter

    Don’t rush to judgement? It’s been two years, that ship has sailed. Should the two victims have stopped, yes. Was the reaction by the police involved excessive, yes. This is a damned if you do, damned if don’t situation

    • Razorback Twou

      Excessive? Excessive? It is off the charts excessive! These people were UNARMED, they couldn’t have hurt these cops if they wanted to. What makes this ” a damned if you do, damned if don’t situation”? It should have been a simple “don’t” situation. Do you think before you post?

      • Bob

        Yeah. DON’T run when the police try to pull you over.

        Think about personal responsibility or was it all the police department’s fault?

        • Razorback Twou

          Ahh, who used the guns? It was the cops “personal responsibility” to act within the law. They failed.

      • Otter

        Did you read my post, or can’t you comprehend a simple statement, or are you just rude? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, translation, no matter what happens, there will be people who are not happy with the results…Kind of like OJ…some people thought he was guilty, some didn’t. Do I think the people in the car should have stopped, yes, do I think the reaction of the police was OFF THE CHARTS EXCESSIVE yes.

  • Brian_Reinhardt

    Two things people need to realize here. Once the car was boxed in and
    officers left their vehicles the driver STILL attempted to move his
    vehicle…it then became a weapon. Second, get on youtube, or Google
    any situation where a front windshield was being shot through from the
    inside and shot at from the outside. The physical characteristics of
    the windshield and its reaction when being penetrated
    by a high velocity projectile make it impossible to determine if the
    person inside is firing a weapon in your direction when you are outside
    the vehicle.

    I ask those of you who want the cops punished
    this one question…At what time do you expect a cop to decide if he’s
    being shot at? When he hears gunfire and sees glass flying from the
    windshield or until after he sees one of his colleagues laying on the
    ground? Also, a motor vehicle is just as dangerous a weapon as a
    handgun when used improperly.

    Get over the emotion and think like a juror…they will never be prosecuted.

    • Razorback Twou

      “Brelo, 30, is accused of jumping on the hood of Russell’s car after
      the initial salvo and unloading his weapon, firing 15 rounds that have
      been described as fatal to Russell and Williams. Brelo fired a total of
      49 rounds that night”

      “Russell was shot 23 times and Williams 24 times. No gun was found on them or in the vehicle” I think the key words here are, after the initial salvo,and, no gun was found. Who do you think was doing all the shooting?

      • Brian_Reinhardt

        Again, look up any video of a windshield being shot and tell me if even though you know it’s being shot at from the outside you can tell where the bullets are coming from.

        It honestly looks like they are coming from the inside…

        A cop’s job is to assess a situation and act accordingly.

        They did their job…they will not be convicted.

    • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

      If you think a boxed in vehicle was a weapon, I think your stretching. It wasn’t a threat. It’s about time LEO are held accountable for their actions. They should be paying for their own lawyers until they are cleared or found guilty, badges shouldn’t grant extra rights. They need personal liability insurance, just like any other supposed professional. Shooting unarmed civilians should be against the law.

  • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

    You have two people driving down Lakeside. Minding their own business, they hear what sounds like a gun shot, looking around, they see a uniformed police officer running towards them. They wonder “why is he shooting at us?” Of course they ran, they have been racially profiled all their lives. Now their being shot at….anybody? Who wouldn’t of ran? Google this: Police shoot unarmed people statistics: About 548,000 results (0.33 seconds)

    • golfingirl

      Google this:

      About 17,800,000 results in 0.29 seconds.

      About 32 times more results, in less time.

      I am sure if they had complied with the law, and stopped their vehicle, they would not have been shot on Lakeside Avenue by the police.

      • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

        I’m sure a white female in suburbia would probably think that, I’m not sure two black people in the hood, thinking they were already being shot at would even consider anything except “fight” or “flight”.

        • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

          I’m guessing your a white female, in suburbia.

          • golfingirl

            And I am guessing you are White, given your screen name “Cracker.”

          • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

            Correct. A black girl at Zimmermans trial testified there was a Creepy Cracker following Tray. It just kinda stuck.

          • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

            2011 Wiikpedia…
            The FBI reported that in 2011, “72 law enforcement officers from around the nation were killed in the line of duty. For 2012, the Officer Down Memorial Page records 120 deaths in the line of duty. Law enforcement officer isn’t even on the top 10 list of dangerous jobs.

        • golfingirl

          We will just have to wait to hear the evidence.

          Point is, if they complied, they would still be alive.

          Have a good evening.

    • Brian_Reinhardt

      Did you see the video of the BEGINNING of the chase that started it all or are you like a “typical” person of your type and twist what you write to suit your racial agenda?

      If they had been “just driving” down Lakeside, maybe….just maybe you would have a point but they were already driving at a very high rate of speed when they encountered the first cop they came in contact with that night.

      Nice try…

      • Creepy Gun Toting Cracker

        If you mean by twisting, I’m expressing my point of view, ya, that’s what you get. I don’t have a racial agenda. I just tried to offer a possible scenario as to why they didn’t stop. The deceased were / had been stopped, and released, a few minutes b/4. As far as speed, I don’t remember the original reporting source mentioning anything about speed, just that he was shot at.