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Police told to stop chase before shooting

  |   Dec. 4, 2012 at 4:56 PM
CLEVELAND, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Cleveland police released a recording of a radio order to end pursuit of a suspect's car, minutes before the suspect and a passenger died in a hail of bullets.

Police Chief Michael McGrath, speaking Monday at a news conference, said he did not believe a supervisor requested an end to the chase last week of a person believed to have fired shots in downtown Cleveland, but recordings of police radio transmissions released Monday evening feature two voices calling an end to the pursuit by 5th District officers.

At one point, a man's voice states, "No cars have permission to pursue," followed by a woman's voice saying, "Fifth District cars, terminate the pursuit," The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Tuesday.

Minutes later, on a dead-end road in East Cleveland, driver Timothy Russell, 43, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, 30, were killed as 13 police officers fired 137 rounds of ammunition at them, the newspaper said.

Investigators later said they did not find a weapon or shell casings in the car.

The controversial use of deadly force brought more than 60 demonstrators to the site Monday afternoon. One, Williams' uncle, Walter Jackson, said, "I want all of the police officers to be reprimanded."

Russell and Williams were black, and McGrath confirmed at the news conference 12 of the 13 officers on the scene were white, the 13th Hispanic.

Relatives of Williams demanded an apology Monday from Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association President Jeffrey Follmer, who referred to Russell and Williams as the "bad guys" and praised the police for doing a "great job."

Follmer later said in an interview his comments were meant to defend the officers against accusations they overreacted, and said he did not mean to cast judgment on the dead.

The newspaper noted at least four of the 13 officers involved in the car chase have a history of what it termed "violent confrontation."

Detectives Michael Demchak and Erin O'Donnell were involved in an incident with state prison guards in 2009, a corrections officer later suing the city after he claimed he was attacked by the police officers and falsely arrested. Officer Michael Rinkus, with four other officers, shot and wounded an armed suspect in a 2011 domestic violence case, and Detective Christopher Ereg, with another officer, shot and wounded a suspect in 2007 while attempting to arrest him, the newspaper said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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