A grand jury indicted Michael Brelo on two counts of
manslaughter for his involvement in the November 2012 shooting
deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after Russell
fled a traffic stop, according to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim
Brelo was one of the 104 officers involved in the chase that
ensued with Russell at speeds that reached 110 miles per hour
(177 km per hour).
When the 25-minute chase ended in a school parking lot, Brelo
climbed on top of Russell’s car and fired 15 rounds into the
1979 Chevy after other officers stopped firing, investigators
“The public was no longer in danger because the car was
surrounded,” McGinty said in a statement.
Brelo's attorney Patrick D'Angelo said the shots he fired were
in good faith and with legal justification.
“Officer Brelo was making judgments and had to perceive what was
going on as bullets were flying by his head. There was no clear
break in the action,” D'Angelo said.
No guns were found in the car or on the two shooting victims,
and gunshots that officers said they heard have been attributed
to the car backfiring, investigators said.
If convicted, Brelo could spend three to 11 years in prison.
The grand jury also indicted five police department supervisors
for dereliction of duty, a misdemeanor.
Nine Cleveland police department supervisors were suspended, two
demoted and one was fired because of the way they handled the
incident. Of the officers involved in the chase, 63 were
suspended for a total of 178 days. The longest suspension was 10
The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a review of the
Cleveland Police Department to look into a possible pattern of
excessive force at the request of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
(Editing by Brendan O'Brien and Jan Paschal)
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