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Cleveland police officers fired, suspended over 2012 chase and shooting

By Shawn Price
Six Cleveland police officers were fired and six suspended for their involvement in a high-speed chase and shooting that killed two unarmed suspects. Carl Ballou/Shutterstock
Six Cleveland police officers were fired and six suspended for their involvement in a high-speed chase and shooting that killed two unarmed suspects. Carl Ballou/Shutterstock

CLEVELAND, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Six Cleveland police officers have been fired and six suspended for their roles in a 2012 high-speed chase and shooting that killed two unarmed suspects.

The 22-mile chase ended with officer Michael Brelo allegedly jumping on the hood of the car he had chased and firing 15 shots through the windshield.

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However, Brelo was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter largely because Brelo and other officers collectively fired so many shots into the car, it was impossible to determine who killed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

An investigation found officers at the scene fired a total of 137 rounds over just 19.6 seconds, killing the pair, who were unarmed.

Six other officers were suspended Tuesday in addition to the six who were fired. Their suspensions range from 21 days to 30 days. One other officer involved retired in 2015.

Public Safety Officer Michael McGrath said, in handing out the punishments, the situation was "a very tragic event for all involved," in particular for the two shooting victims and their families.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis called the actions "unprecedented" and announced the union has filed grievances over the fired officers, and will act on the behalf of the suspended officers soon.

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"Six people got fired after the state attorney general's office cleared them, a grand jury cleared them, [and] a Cuyahoga County judge cleared them," Loomis said at a news conference. "And yet the safety director finds enough there to make these kinds of decisions. It's absolutely politically motivated and insane."

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