The trial of former Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is in its second week and the jury will consider an extremely disturbing police shooting case where Brelo, 31, is charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams following a Nov. 29, 2012 police chase and shooting.
Brelo, 31, insists that he does not remember standing on the hood and firing the final 15 rounds into the windshield — 15 of a 137-shot barrage. However, a fellow officer said that a few days later Brelo discussed the incident with apparent clarity of memory.
Only Brelo was charged among the 13 officers that night who fired the barrage. In all, however, he fired 49 of the 137 rounds. His counsel insists that he remained in danger until he reached into the Malibu and removed the keys. The theory is that the car was the weapon.
The chase started after a failed traffic stop. Russell sped past Cleveland police headquarters, where his car backfired – making officers believe that there were shots fired. A huge police chase then ensured with over 60 police cars and 104 officers. Trapped in a school parking lot, Russell tried to flee and sideswiped a cruiser and then came to a stop. Another officer opened fire and a barrage ensued.
Brelo insists that he left his cruiser because he said he was afraid the Malibu would hit him. However, he then crossed in front of the car to climb on top of another cruiser and resumed firing. Then later claimed not to remember the incident of jumping on the hood even though his footprints were found on the hood. Another officer later said it was Brelo and asked why he said Brelo was talking about it.
That makes for a difficult and interesting trial to say the least.