One Cleveland Patrolman, Five Supervisors Indicted in Infamous Police Chase and Shooting Case

Today, the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury voted to indict Patrolman Michael Brelo on two counts of voluntary manslaughter for the killing of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in November 2012. Sgts. Randy Daley, Patricia Coleman, Jason Edens and Michael Donegan and Lt. Paul Wilson were also charged with dereliction of duty.

Read the full statement from County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty's office. Here's an excerpt:

Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.03, Manslaughter is a felony of the first degree, carrying a mandatory prison sentence of from three to 11 years.

Officer Brelo fired 49 shots at driver Timothy Russell and his front-seat passenger, Malissa Williams. This shooting took place in the parking lot of Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland at 10:53 p.m., following a lengthy, high-speed police chase that began in downtown Cleveland.

Evidence shows that a total of 137 shots were fired by Cleveland Police officers in the schoolyard. Investigators established that the victims were unarmed.

After more than 100 shots were fired at Mr. Russell’s car, it was trapped by police cruisers in a narrow lane and came to a full stop.

All officers at the scene saw fit to cease fire.

Then Officer Brelo started shooting again and fired at least 15 shots, including fatal shots, downward through the windshield into the victims at close range as he stood on the hood of Mr. Russell’s car.

This was now a stop-and-shoot — no longer a chase-and-shoot.

The law does not allow for a stop-and-shoot.


Here's the statement from the family of Malissa Williams:

The Williams family would like to sincerely thank the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

We feel there is an opportunity for justice to be served. We also plan to move forward with our Complaint against the named defendants. But more importantly, we would like to reiterate that this is an opportunity for the community to collaborate and come together—not to be divided.

Now is the time for us to join and have positive dialogue about solutions. We need to figure out how the police department can work better with the community and not against them.

This is a time for community solidarity in Northeast Ohio. We miss Malissa every day. We also extend our sympathies to the family of Timothy Russell.

But as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Dr. King also said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”