Monday, May 25, 2015
Cleveland Cop Acquitted in Shooting Deaths of 2 Unarmed Suspects
A white Cleveland patrolman who fired down through the windshield of a suspect’s car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that left the two unarmed black occupants dead was acquitted Saturday of criminal charges by a judge who said he could not determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots.
Brelo could have been convicted of lesser charges, but O’Donnell determined his actions were justified following the chase, which included reports of shots fired from Russell’s car, because officers perceived a threat.
Thirteen officers fired at the car with Russell and Malissa Williams inside after a 22-mile high-speed chase that involved 62 marked and unmarked cars and reached 100 mph. Brelo was the only officer charged because prosecutors said he waited until the pair was no longer a threat to fire his final 15 rounds.
Russell, 43, and Williams, 30, were each shot more than 20 times. Prosecutors argued they were alive until Brelo’s final salvo but medical examiners for both sides testified they could not determine the order in which the deadly shots were fired.