News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Genie of Fairview Door Company

Cedar Point


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Crime and Courts


Six Cleveland police officers arraigned in 2012 car chase and shooting
Patrolman Michael Brelo and five others plead not guilty; will appear next Friday for a hearing
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
CPPA attorney Pat D'Angelo (left) and union chief Jeff Follmer say the six officers arraigned Friday just want their day in court.
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Michael Brelo and five other Cleveland police officers pleaded not guilty today to charges stemming from a 2012 car chase that ended with 137 gunshots and the deaths of two unarmed people.

Brelo faces two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of driver Timothy Russell and passenger Malissa Williams. He’s accused of jumping on the hood of Russell's car and firing at least 15 rounds that prosecutors describe as fatal.

But Patrolman’s Association attorney Pat D’Angelo says the officers acted appropriately.
Six Cleveland police officers arraigned in 2012 car chase and shooting

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (0:17)


“Simple men and women that went to work that night on November 24, 2012 and tried to do the right thing. They did not get up and say, ‘We’re going to beat up on someone. We want to kill someone.’ They tried to protect and serve. And their lives were on the line and they acted the best that they could.”

Bond was set at $10,000 for patrolman Brelo, while the other five (supervisors Sgts. Randolph Dailey, Patricia Coleman, Jason Edens, Michael Donegan and Lt. Paul Wilson) got $1,000 each on misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty. 

Separately, an arbitrator Thursday ordered that Donegan, Wilson and Capt. Ulrich Zouhar, disciplined for their roles in the chase, be reinstated. Donegan had been fired and the other two demoted. Brian Betley heads the officers’ union, the Fraternal Order of Police. He says the ruling makes him confident in the not-guilty pleas.

“The arbitrator… his decisions were based on the confines of the square box of: testimony by witnesses, evidence that was produced [and] briefs by both attorneys – the city and the FOP. He assured both attorneys that he wasn’t going to be influenced by outside media sources or [by] how big this event has become.”

Of the officers facing criminal charges, all but Brelo were disciplined by the department last year. Three of those cases are still awaiting an arbitrator’s ruling. The others disciplined last year are Sgt. Mathew Putnam, Sgt. Brian Chetnick, Sgt. Brian Lockwood, Sgt. Mark Bickerstaff, Sgt. Matthew Gallagher and Sgt. Richard Martinez.

About 150 Cleveland police officers showed up to support Michael Brelo and five other officers who were indicted last month. The six say they were acting within the bounds of the law on November 24, 2012, when driver Timothy Russell’s car reportedly backfired. The police thought it was a gun, and a 22-minute chase was on.

Police union chief Jeff Follmer says Brelo is holding up as well as can be expected.

“It’s always [a] concern when you’re facing felony charges. He’s very stressed out but he’s ready to go forward. There is a story that needs to be told. He believes he’s not guilty and he went out to do his job that night. And he’s quite confident that it’s going to be a ‘not guilty.’”

After the arraignment, attorney D’Angelo said the officers have been treated as political footballs.

“There are many people in our community that profess to be civil rights activists. Which means that they respect the law and the Constitutional process of presumption of innocence, burden of proof, not rushing to judgment, not having kangaroo courts and not having high-tech lynchings.”

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has said Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were no longer a threat to the officers by the time Brelo fired the fatal shots.

When the indictments were announced last month, D’Angelo said the officers acted heroically, with the only tragedy being that Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams did not come to a stop during the chase. An investigation by Attorney General Mike DeWine said “systemic failures” led to the chase spiraling out of control and involving up to 100 officers. 
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Summit County takes the Akron arena out of the sales tax equation
David should be commended for his efforts to "wake up" the politicians of Summit County and the City of Akron. However, I still don't trust any of them and I a...

Brunswick will turn tornado sirens back on after bad weather
Put the sirens back after the storms, in the mean time just sit and wait for another tornado . That's Brunswick for you lived here 44 years and it has always be...

Oberlin council may rescind its gun ban, but is considering alternatives to keep it in effect
Seems that the only scared, paranoid people are the anti-gun people, really.

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University