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Cleveland officials said Tuesday they’re firing six police officers involved in a 137-shot barrage that killed two unarmed black people after a high-speed chase.

Those officers included Michael Brelo, a patrolman acquitted of manslaughter charges in May for having fired the last 15 shots of the barrage in East Cleveland on Nov. 29, 2012. The chase began when officers standing outside police headquarters mistook the sound of a beat-up Chevrolet Malibu backfiring as a gunshot.

Six more officers who fired during the barrage face suspensions ranging from 21 to 30 days, said Public Safety Director Michael McGrath, the former police chief. A total of 13 officers had been notified they faced administrative discipline, and one of them has retired, McGrath said.

The president of Cleveland’s largest police union, Steve Loomis, vowed to fight the discipline and said grievances appealing the firings were filed with the city Tuesday. He described the firings as unbelievable, unprecedented and politically motivated.

“It’s tragic that it went down this way, but at the end of the day, two people high on crack cocaine, high on marijuana, one of them intoxicated, made the decisions that they made and we responded to them,” Loomis said. “And we responded within our training.”

The officers had been cited for joining the chase or leaving the city without permission. More seriously, some were accused of endangering other officers by creating or contributing to a crossfire situation.

McGrath said officials reviewed hundreds of pages of related documents and multimedia to reach decisions on discipline.

“It was very difficult. … But at the end of the day, there were general police orders. There are manual rules and regulations that we expect officers to comply with,” McGrath said. “If they didn’t comply with those particular general police orders or manual rules and regulations, I sustained charges.”

The high-speed chase involved 62 police cruisers and more than 100 officers. The shooting killed both occupants of the car. Timothy Russell was hit by 24 shots, Malissa Williams by 23.

Authorities never learned why Russell didn’t stop. He had a criminal record including convictions for receiving stolen property and robbery and had been involved in a previous police pursuit. Williams had convictions for drug-related charges and attempted abduction. Both were described as mentally ill, homeless and addicted to drugs. A crack pipe was found in the car.

Of the officers who fired, only Brelo faced criminal charges. Prosecutors said he stood on the vehicle’s hood and fired inside repeatedly after the car had stopped and its occupants were no longer a threat.

Defense attorneys said the officers involved in the chase and shooting had probable cause to believe the people in the car were a safety threat. Brelo’s disciplinary letter cites that and also notes that he fired 49 times, more than double any other officer involved.

Investigators eventually concluded Russell and Williams weren’t armed.

Loomis said the officers were right to chase the car because Russell fled at a high rate of speed. After the car stopped, the first shots were fired after Russell used the car as a deadly weapon and drove at an officer, Loomis said.

The shooting preceded a monthslong U.S. Department of Justice investigation that concluded Cleveland police engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force and violating people’s civil rights. The city negotiated an agreement to make changes overseen by an independent monitor.


Associated Press writer Mitch Stacy in Columbus contributed to this report.

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13 thoughts on “Cleveland Police Fire Six Officers Involved In Shooting Unarmed Couple In Car

  1. For all the black people on here attacking the racist “Peter”, you all are just as or more racist as him so shut up already and stop whining about racism because it goes both ways. I will also point out to you that I would think most people in this country is feeling disdain for your race right now. From what I have seen in my 38 years is more racism coming from blacks than everyone else combined but yet somehow they are the only ones who cry racism, why is that?????????

  2. Honestly on said:

    Cave n!@@ers can’t be reasoned with they must be driven to p!ss, sh!t and blood. These neanderthal apes rape and kill their own wife’s and children for entertainment. Those dumb cave n!@@ers in Oregon followed through with their threat to shoot at the police and only one these mayonnaise monkeys was killed, they should have all been exterminated. Cave n!@@ers with
    badges showed such great restraint with fellow cave n!@@ers who actually threaten their lives. Yet Nubian men, women and children are being murdered by these depraved savages with impunity. My sincere hope is that these cave n!@@ers cannibalize themselves with their savage nature. They should have never been let out of the caves of Europe.

  3. Stephanie on said:

    No name calling here peter, just stating the facts. So obvious that you’re the result of your maggot mama breeding with male members of her family, hateful scum

  4. Funny the ni@@ers only resort to name calling when you hit them with cold hard facts. Was Darren Wilson not exonerated by the racist pig Eric Holder? Did he not even say it was self defense? It doesn’t matter to you apes, it’s only about sticking it to whitey because yall are the worst racists on the planet by far! 12 percent of the US population yet over 50 percent of violent crime, 70 born out of wedlock, 75 percent of the worlds aids carriers, I can go on and on but you racist apes will dismiss it as “cracka babble” FU!

  5. specialt757 on said:

    Girl, Peter is the result of crossbreeding an orangutan and a donkey…a monkey’s ass. In the words of Honestly, “they should have never been let out of the caves of Europe.”

  6. Stephanie on said:

    Poor, poor maggot Peter, such hate and anger, it will soon put you in your grave where you will be shoveling shit for the devil.

  7. redbone1954 on said:

    So I wonder when they determined that they were mentally ill? Was it after they killed them like animals? And lo and behold the cop that shot through the front window did not get convicted? Oh not that this is a surprise.

  8. stan lowe on said:

    B A W please do something about comments that are just to insight rage and not insightful dialogue. allowing these comments are not responsible. you can do this.

  9. Honestly on said:

    The cave n!@@er loomis should be shot in the head. These depraved cave n!@@ers with badges committed cold blooded murder. That why these thugs in blue are being gunned down, they think they have an inherent right to get away with murder. They should have never bee let out of the caves of Europe.

    • More ni@@er apes who couldn’t control their drug habits. Ni@@ers want to attack cops as was the case in the Michael Brown shooting and then cry racism when the Ni@@er is shot by the cop. Even the racist pig Eric Holder found that the shooting was justified. Then they want to attack civilians(George Zimmerman) and cry racism when self defense is used. Zimmerman was found innocent in a court of law. They tried to make Zimmerman out to be a racist when in fact Traycoon was the racist who clearly said he’s being followed by a “creepy ass cracka”

      • Wow, this is what happens when you sleep with your sister, So sorry Peter, Peter pumpkin eater, or sister eater. You are such an angry human. Blame your mother.

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