Cleveland Police Officer On Trial For Barrage Of Bullets That Killed Two Unarmed Suspects

BRELO_-MICHAEL-J_1408554004487_7468772_ver1.0_640_480The 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.

We discussed this story earlier of the killing of the unarmed couple.

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.

103 thoughts on “Cleveland Police Officer On Trial For Barrage Of Bullets That Killed Two Unarmed Suspects”

  1. “A huge police chase then ensured with over 60 police cars and 104 officers.”

    So much freedom, we don’t have police state tendencies at all. How on a civil liberties blog is this not highlighted?

  2. Paul

    Greater Victoria has a population of over 500,000. It is the capital city of British Columbia and once was the 2nd largest city on the Pacific after San Francisco, during the Klondike Gold Rush. There are a few dozen communities, each with their own police force. Cooperation between several police departments as well as the RCMP is often the case. There is little if any nonsensical territorial issues as exists in the US. Potentially comparing Victoria to San Bernadino is apples to apples. Regarding the attitude, yes apples to oranges, or even further apart. The attitude is at issue here, not the geography, population density, or anything else. Police in Canada are no less respected than in the US. They are somewhat less feared. The compartmentalization of US society is something that seems to have a value for some reason. At one time people might have taken pride in where they lived, their parents lived, and where they wanted their kids to live. The world has changed. People move often. This ‘our town’ nonsense has now lead to a dysfunction in government as well as society.

    I would venture to bet that that 73 year old who, regardless of how much money he spent, was protected from the common sense of the fact that septuagenarians do not get to play police man with guns, except on Halloween and then only with guns in Texas. After the astonishment of all these events subsides, perhaps the stupidity of the situation will surface.

  3. issac – Victoria, BC has a population of 75,000. I live in a community of 225,000 and we are a town. Even at that the Victoria PD brought in the Horsemen to help out. Here the Highway Patrol or Sheriff’s Office do not help out in cities or towns unless there are riots or football games.

    Comparing Victoria, B.C. to San Bernadino Co is comparing apples and oranges.

  4. Paul

    Compare and contrast this with the sheriffs in San Bernadino county and how they beat a similar perp to vent their frustrations.

  5. Paul

    No, that is not the key. The key to the article is that there was a well coordinated effort to take the guy in without using him for target practice. They knew he was violent, knew he had a gun, and knew he had a past. In the US, under these circumstances he would be the main attraction at a turkey shoot. It is a difference of attitude that has been uniquely American since the Wild West and sometimes goes into remission but is coming back in vogue.

    It is not easy being American and listening to criticism, especially in light of all that America has given the world, continues to give the world, and certainly will continue to contribute to the world. This is an amazingly great country.

    However, the key to its greatness is to recognize its shortcomings and make the appropriate adjustments. The hardest thing for a millionaire to do is to listen to advice. The US needs to place itself societally in amongst its peer nations and review some situations. This has nothing to do with 1776, The Constitution, or patriotism, love of country or all the other good stuff.

  6. ““He’s very well known to us,” Berube said. ”

    Hell, the suspect probably “works” for them.

  7. There is a way to apprehend dangerous criminals and avoid killing those guilty of a busted tail light. This is a not unusual event in Victoria, BC.

    Police chase man for nearly two hours, struggle to subdue him
    APRIL 14, 2015 11:46 AM
    UPDATED: APRIL 14, 2015 10:06 PM

    A violent prolific offender accused of stealing a car and carrying a loaded handgun led four police departments on a lengthy chase Tuesday through the Highlands and Saanich Peninsula.

    The man was arrested after a struggle with police about 12:15 p.m. following an hour-and-a-half pursuit, first in a stolen Jeep and then on bicycle and on foot.

    “It took two members to subdue him,” said West Shore RCMP spokesman Const. Alex Berube said. The man was in possession of a loaded handgun.

    It started when a bright green 1996 Jeep Cherokee was reported stolen from a residence on York Ridge Place in the Highlands about 10:45 a.m., Berube said.

    An officer attempted to stop the vehicle as it was leaving a gas station at the intersection of Treanor Avenue and Millstream Road in Langford.

    The driver evaded police, sparking the car chase around Willis Point and Ross Durrance roads in the Highlands.

    Mounties set up checkpoints throughout the Highlands and searched driveways. The public was asked to avoid walking in the area. Police departments from Central Saanich and Saanich as well as Sidney/North Saanich RCMP joined in the chase when it looked like the man was heading toward Willis Point Road.

    The Jeep was found abandoned on Sea Aira Heights, a small side street just off Willis Point Road, about 11:45 a.m.

    A West Shore canine unit and Sidney RCMP officer searched the area and finally found the man on Ross Durrance Road.

    He fought with the Sidney officer but was finally taken into custody. “He’s very well known to us,” Berube said. The man’s name was not released and charges have not yet been laid.

    “As a result of the co-ordinated response by local officers from the West Shore and Sidney RCMP, Central Saanich PD and Saanich PD, we were able to successfully apprehend this violent suspect,” said Insp. Larry Chomyn who heads West Shore RCMP. “Our investigators are now focused on ensuring a thorough investigation is completed into all aspects of this case.”

    The man is set to appear Wednesday morning in Western Communities Court.

    – See more at:

    1. issac – the key to your article was that the suspect was well-known to the police. When you have the town drunk you know how to handle him since you have handled him before.

  8. I’m curious to know if any study done on how much local municipalities pay out (tax payer monies) to victims of police brutality. I’d also be curious to know of those cases, how many officers involved were left on payrolls by the local municipalities (tax payer monies). Lastly, I’d like to know how many municipalities are going bankrupt following this scheme.

    Anyone know?

    Officer commits a crime, is left collecting a pension all the while the city pays for the damages. Any chance cities will start addressing this payoff scheme? And, why won’t the municipalities go after the pensions to repay the citizens for the use of their taxes in paying out illegal acts?

  9. The facts speak for themselves: 137 shot fusillades with a 60 car and 100 officer clown chase ending with a coup de grace being administered by officer not so friendly Michael Brelo from point blank range smacks of keystone kopism not a professional trained police force.

    If there were any justice in Cleveland every officer clown involved would be held accountable.

  10. Max-1 … yep, I’m glad the idiot “turned himself in”…as I said, it wasn’t his age per se, but his mentality. I do hope he has also been disarmed. His “accident” is inexcusable. That was sure some “twitch” he had there…with a double action only revolver no less…one long hard trigger pull. Brain disengaged is what it was…and tragically.

    Yep, the old NRA and the one of today are different in many ways, but the core of the membership still advocate safety first and foremost. In a way, with today’s technology, it is a forum where I can speak up and I do. Those who get hysterical about my ideas can kiss my shiny heiny. The majority don’t get all bent.

    That said, organizations do change…I was a registered Democrat until 2004 and Kerry’s nomination…which I protested loudly to our state party, and upon being ignored (not even a discussion in return) I demanded they remove me from their roles and never bother me again. They’d turned the corner and JFK wouldn’t recognize them today…no matter what his idiot relatives think. I was crudely blunt with sufficient vulgarity that they complied. So far the NRA hasn’t jumped that shark…maybe if by some freak coincidence they elect Ted Nugent as President, then I’d reconsider.

    I don’t mind military style weapons for target use…if you are good enough with it, try for Camp Perry….like I did long ago with a trap shotgun at Vandalia, Ohio. As for carrying around, or hunting, fuggedaboudit. Don’t recall ever strolling through town with my various 12 Ga. O/U’s (I still own two of those) or my old Model 12 Winchester Trap guns slung over my shoulder…let alone the M14’s, M21’s and M16’s I once carried long ago half a world away. I’m very tempted to try a new accurized M14 for target use at the 1000 yard outdoor ranges we have nearby (I have friends who insist it’d be fun)…e.g, the Springfield M1A, but the initial price ($2900+) and the maintenance deter me (make a maintenance mistake and its another $500 to fix it)…and I have no need for small groups at 500 yards over iron sights or 1000 yards through a scope. Anyone that far away from me today is not a direct threat. At least I hope so.

    If you have read much of my commentary, you should have seen my comments about even laying one of those military arms down (totally against protocol) to play baseball with some local national kids who had a broom handle and a raggedy tennis ball. A couple of us got a guy to go to a PX he had access to and get us real gloves, baseballs, and bats…and we gave them to those same kids. I suspect we did more for that war effort with that simple thing than all the shooting…at least a few kids knew us as friends and unafraid of them. No one ever touched our weapons. Subsequently they did warn us of potential trouble…they knew we had no fear of them and they responded like and kind. I still wonder now and then what happened to those kids. If still alive, do they remember us? If they are and do, G-d bless you kids, you gave a now old man a moment of bright light in a dark place. You can tell by how often I’ve repeated the story to some extent how much it influenced my life.

  11. Airdog
    You’ll be pleased to know the 73year old quasi deputy that couldn’t last his officer probation 50 years ago yet was allowed to dress in with the force and carry a service issued gun (one he probably donated to the PD’s, has officially turned himself in and was charged with manslaughter charges and released on a 25k bail. Well at least it’s not a paid leave on the taxpayers dime this time…

  12. In 2014 – per the FBI – approximately 50 Police officers were killed by crooks, another 100 were shot by crooks. So less than the “Hundreds” I originally wrote.
    But still significant.

  13. Richard ….I agree with both your points, one (cynically) about obeying the uniform and badge and the part about “tying” to those who abuse it. I spoke earlier of maybe how we should re-think the concept of “beat cops” (in some format) where the civilians they are in touch with get to know them, and vice versa, and then the respect is earned in both directions. Departments that ignore this now, and only “respond” post-facto, sometimes with massive overkill, are missing the whole “protect” part of “protect & serve.” That said, police departments are part of a local political unit, so we usually get what we vote for, or fail to vote for, sad to say. Both sides need to re-think the entire scenario. Vote for idiots, you get, guess what(?)….idiots.

    The fail to vote at all crowd is my favorite target…if one fails to vote with a clear head, why is one complaining? I’d hope most commenters here vote…just once thank you very much 🙂

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