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Saturday, 23 May 2015

STOP! (bang) Or I'll Shoot!

Dear Readers:

To say they have a problem with cops in the United States would be the understatement of the year! (Not that we're much better here in Canada.)

I am going to reproduce this article without any omissions, substitutions, or clarification so that you can judge the actions of these cops for yourself!

By the way, the whole thing started when the guys car backfired and the cops thought they were being shot at, and it doesn't matter if the suspects were armed or not, (they weren't) from the condition of their front windshield when Brelo jumped on the hood and pumped another 49 bullets into them, (After they had already been shot over a hundred times and come to a stop)  proves that this guy is a homicidal maniac!


CLEVELAND — A Cleveland police officer who climbed onto the hood of a car after a chase and fired repeatedly at its unarmed occupants, both of them black, in 2012 was acquitted of manslaughter on Saturday by an Ohio judge.
The trial of the officer, Michael Brelo, played out amid broader questions about how the police interact with African-Americans and the use of force, in Cleveland and across the country.
Officer Brelo was one of 13 officers who shot at Timothy Russell and his passenger, Malissa Williams, who were killed after a chase through the Cleveland area on Nov. 29, 2012. The chase started in downtown Cleveland after reports of gunfire from the car; prosecutors said the noise apparently was the result of the car’s backfiring.
After the gunfire reports, over 100 officers pursued the car for more than 20 miles at speeds that reached 100 miles an hour. Police officers fired 137 rounds at the car after it was cornered, prosecutors have said, including 49 by Officer Brelo.
Other officers stopped firing after Mr. Russell’s Chevy Malibu was surrounded and came to a stop, but prosecutors said Officer Brelo had climbed onto the car’s hood and fired at least 15 rounds from close range. Officer Brelo, 31, a seven-year veteran, is white.                                    
Judge John P. O’Donnell of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court said that while Officer Brelo fired lethal shots at the two people in the car, testimony did not prove that his shots caused either death.
“The state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, Michael Brelo, knowingly caused the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams,” he ruled.
Officer Brelo, a former Marine who opted for a bench trial, had sat stoically throughout the four-week trial. On Saturday, he could be seen shifting in his seat, at times resting his head in his hands. At one point, he made a quick sign of the cross. He embraced his attorneys after the verdict. He remains on an unpaid suspension.
Defense lawyers said their client had feared for his life and believed gunfire was coming from Mr. Russell’s car. No gun was recovered, and prosecutors said Mr. Russell and Ms. Williams had been unarmed.
But the verdict does not mean the end of scrutiny of the case and of police issues in Cleveland. An investigation continues into the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was holding a replica gun when a white Cleveland police officer shot him in November. That shooting, captured on video, has also garnered national attention and resulted in protests.
The decision was met with anger by many, particularly blacks, in Cleveland, but protests Saturday afternoon began peacefully.

Representative Marcia L. Fudge, a Democrat whose district is based in Cleveland, said Judge O’Donnell’s verdict was “a stunning setback.”

Malissa Williams, left, and Timothy Russell. Credit Cleveland Police Department

The firing of more than a hundred rounds by the officers in the shooting and Officer Brelo’s actions were “extreme, excessive and unnecessary,” she said. Pointing to a Justice Department review of the Cleveland Police Department in 2014, she vowed to push for the “sweeping, systemic changes” it recommended.
Timothy McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said in a news conference after the verdict that the investigation had led to several changes that he believed would prevent deaths, including better use-of-force training for police officers and increased penalties for officers who disregard department policies. As a result of the changes, “there will never have to be another Brelo trial,” he said.
Five police supervisors have been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to bring the fatal chase under control. “We look forward to presenting another vigorous prosecution,” Mr. McGinty said.
In a statement, the United States attorney’s office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice said they would review the testimony and evidence.
“We will continue our assessment, review all available legal options and will collaboratively determine what, if any, additional steps are available and appropriate given the requirements and limitations of the applicable laws in the federal judicial system,” the statement said.
After the verdict, Officer Brelo’s future with the Police Department remained unclear. Stephen S. Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said Officer Brelo was going on a vacation with his family, but it was not known if he would be able to return to work.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Officer Brelo’s actions crossed the line from justifiable to reckless when he climbed onto the car’s hood, but the judge disagreed.

Before rendering his verdict, Judge O’Donnell spoke from the bench about widespread tensions between the police and African-Americans, mentioning Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore.

Protesters outside the Justice Center after Officer Brelo's acquittal in Cleveland on Saturday. Credit Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters

But he said he would not let those sentiments cloud his verdict and found that Officer Brelo had reasonably perceived a threat from Mr. Russell’s car. The decision to continue firing from the hood was protected by law, he ruled, clearing Officer Brelo of all charges. (Then somebody had better start thinking about changing the law! -Ed.) The shooting was “reasonable despite knowing now that there was no gun in the car and he was mistaken about the gunshots,” Judge O’Donnell said.
“I reject the claim that 12 seconds after the shooting began, it was patently clear from the perspective of a reasonable police officer that the threat had been stopped,” he said, contrasting the prosecutors’ claims that the justifiable action ended when Officer Brelo climbed onto the hood.
At a news conference with the Cleveland police chief on Saturday, Mayor Frank Jackson said the verdict would have a “long-lasting effect” on the city and the nation.
“This is a moment that will define us as a city, and define us as a people as we move forward,” he said. Mr. Jackson said he hoped to send the message that “actions that cross the line, whether by police officers or citizens, will not be tolerated.”
Officer Brelo will remain on unpaid suspension while a panel formed after the shooting continues its investigation into his actions and those of 12 other officers involved, Chief Calvin Williams of the Cleveland police said during the news conference.
The Critical Incident Review Committee was formed in 2013 to review the shooting. Chief Williams said that, so far, 72 officers had been suspended without pay. One supervisor was fired, and two more were demoted. Administrative charges against three officers were dismissed. The panel is expected to deliver the results of its investigation to Chief Williams.
Chief Williams pleaded for protesters to continue to be peaceful while that process continued. “At this time, calmer heads have to prevail,” he said.
Alfredo Williams, Ms. Williams’s brother, criticized the ruling in an interview with Fox 8 in Cleveland. “This police should have went to jail for life for this,” Mr. Williams said. “This is straight murder.”
But in closing arguments, Mr. D’Angelo said his client believed he was under attack when he fired on the car. “What would make him want to shoot through the windshield at another human being?” Mr. D’Angelo said. “Could it be that he was shot at? Could it be that he reasonably perceived that the occupants of the Malibu were shooting at him? That’s what all the other officers perceived. That’s what Officer Brelo perceived.”