Since the night of November 29, 2012, we all have had questions about the high speed pursuit and the use of deadly force that resulted in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The time since then has been difficult for everyone involved – the families of Mr. Russell and Ms. Williams, our police officers and us as a community. At the time, then-Chief of Police McGrath, Chief Williams and I all expressed concern about several issues related to the pursuit and the use of deadly force. We pledged full cooperation with all investigative authorities and promised a thorough, transparent and fair administrative review of the actions of all police officers involved. The review of the officers and the supervisors involved in the pursuit itself was completed last year.
The criminal investigation into the use of deadly force was led by Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, along with the City of East Cleveland. in February, 2013, the State’s Attorney General presented his investigative file to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. Since then a Grand Jury was empaneled and the criminal investigation continued. Today, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor announced that one officer was indicted for manslaughter and five supervisors for dereliction of duty.
Here are the immediate actions taken by the city as a result of the Grand Jury decision:
- Per city policy, Officer Michael Brelo has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the adjudication of the felony charges;
- Per city policy, the four police supervisors currently employed by the Division of Police will be reassigned to restrictive duty pending adjudication of the misdemeanor charges;
- The fifth police supervisor was terminated in June, 2013 as a result of the administrative review of the November 29, 2012 pursuit; and.
- The Critical Incident Review Committee (CIRC) will reconvene Monday, June 2 to conduct its review of 12 officers involved in the use of deadly force who were not indicted.
As Mayor of the City of Cleveland, I will say that when officers and their supervisors face criminal charges in connection with their time on the job, it is a challenge for our entire community – residents and police officers alike. Given the fact that we have officers facing criminal charges, we will not be commenting further on the specifics of the investigation or the criminal charges. We will provide updates in the future regarding the status of the administrative review by the CIRC.