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Cleveland Patrolman, 5 Others Charged In Deadly 2012 Car Chase

Six police officers have been indicted in connection with a2012 chase in Cleveland that resulted in the deaths of two unarmed suspects in a hail of gunfire.

A grand jury returned indictments on two counts of manslaughter against patrol officer Michael Brelo. Five supervisors were indicted on misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty.

Brelo and 13 other officers fired a total of 137 shots into a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu after a 23-minute chase of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30 – unarmed suspects who were both killed in the incident.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said Friday that Brelo fired at least 15 shots after the car was fully stopped. He said it would have been impossible for Russell and Williams to escape.

McGinty did not recommend charges against the other 12 officers who fired shots, according to The Associated Press.

Cleveland.com says of the 2012 incident:

"More than 60 police cars joined the chase that reached speeds of more than 125 mph after an officer reported hearing shots fired from the Malibu as it sped past the Justice Center. Authorities later said the sound was likely the older model car backfiring.

"The chase funneled into a parking lot at Heritage Middle School, and soon a volley of gunfire began. The first officer to fire his gun told investigators that he thought the Malibu was about to strike him. Other officers mistakenly believed the car's occupants were firing at them. All 13 who fired their weapons told investigators they feared for their lives."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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