Pictured are Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (wearing beard and eye glasses), Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell (in sky blue tie), Cleveland Police Patrolman Michael Brelo (in blue shirt), Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty (in red-pink tie with polka dots), Community activist Art McKoy (in red, black and green turban), 137 shots unarmed Cleveland police fatal shooting victim Malissa Williams (in white shirt), and 137 shots unarmed Cleveland police fatal shooting victim Timothy Russell (in dark blue sweatshirt).
CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM-CLEVELAND, Ohio- Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who is Black, has fired several of of 13 non-Black Cleveland cops, including officer Michael Brelo, that gunned down unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell in 2012 slinging 137 bullets and following a high speed car chase that began in downtown Cleveland and ended in neighboring East Cleveland. Two detectives were also fired.
Community activists say that the mayor did not go far enough.
"All of them should have been fired," said Ted Guerry, a longtime community activist with the local grassroots group Black on Black Crime Inc.
Six others, four police officers and two detectives, were suspended, though not all six of them were necessarily among the shooters.
Brelo, 32, was the only police officer at issue indicted by a county grand jury and was acquitted last May of two counts of voluntary manslaughter in a bench trial before Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell, now a Democratic candidate for an open seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.
Also fired were officers Wilfredo Diaz, Brian Sabolik and Michael Farley, and detectives Christopher Ereg and Erin O'Donnell.
Patrolmen Paul Box, Cynthia Moore, Randy Patrick and Scott Sistek and Detective William Salupo were suspended for 21 days, and detective Michael Rinkus was suspended for 23 days.
Another police officer retired to avoid discipline, and at least one detective that participated in the fatal shooting deaths was not disciplined at all.
It is not clear in totality which officers and detectives that were either fired or suspended are among those that did the actual 137 shots shooting, and by design, sources told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper.
Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association (CPPA) President Steve Loomis vows to win back his union colleagues jobs and said yesterday that he will take action "immediately and aggressively."
That process begins with the filing of grievances under the collective bargaining agreement between the city and the CPPA union.
If the grievances are denied an arbitrator or a judge or panel of judges will ultimately decide, if the arbitrator's award of decision is appealed to the common pleas court and then to the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals.
The disciplinary case could very well end up in the Ohio Supreme Court, though state law, and case law from the high court, give arbitrators much authority, and their decisions, officially termed awards, are rarely vacated, even when they arbitrarily go against the expressed provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.
Seventy-one protestors were arrested the day of the controversial officer Michael Brelo acquittal verdict, the lone officer of the 13 shooters that got indicted on felony manslaughter charges. And the verdict in his favor by Judge O'Donnell has heightened racial unrest in the largely Black major American city.
In December 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the chief law enforcement arm of led by U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the nation's first Black attorney general, found systemic problems in the largely White Cleveland Police Department, including a lack of training, and cruel and unusual punishment against women, children, and the mentally ill.
A court-monitored consent decree between the city and the federal government for police reforms was reached by the parties in June of last year.
The city of Cleveland settled a notorious wrongful death and police excessive force lawsuit for $3 million to be split between the families of the two victims.
Cleveland Civil Rights and Constitutional Attorney Terry Gilbert, the appointed lawyer for the estate of Russell, who is survived by a grown mentally ill son, said in a previous one-on-one interview with Cleveland Urban News.Com that money is not enough to appease the Cleveland community.
"The fight is just really beginning," said Gilbert at the time.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who is White, told reporters during a press conference on the grand jury indictment relative to Brelo that his office did not recommend any charges to the grand jury as to the other 12 police officers that did the shooting and escaped indictments, 11 White and one Hispanic.
That posture has upset community activists.
Local community activist Art McKoy, who has led rallies against the deadly shooting since 2012 and who has called for McGinty, a former common pleas judge of 19 years, to resign or to be voted out of office this year, told Cleveland Urban News.Com that "McGinty must go."
McGinty faces Michael O'Malley for the March 15 Democratic primary and is under fire from greater Cleveland community activists, the Cleveland NAACP, and Black leaders and clergy for his handling of the case, as well as the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
The two White Cleveland cops who gunned Rice down in 2014, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, also escaped grand jury indictments on criminal charges with McGinty's help. But they await possible discipline.
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a vocal opponent of the embattled county prosecutor, has endorsed O'Malley.
"The neo- Nazi's won and it is unbelievable that only one police officer faced felony charges and the other 12 got away with killing two unarmed Black people," said community activist Pierre Nappier, who says that all 13 of the Cleveland cops who fired shots as to the Russell-Williams deadly shooting should have been indicted on felony murder charges and fired.
The '137 shots,' as it has come to be known to the Black community, began in downtown Cleveland the night of Nov 29, 2012 when police say Russell's car backfired and it was mistaken as a shot fired at police.
Community activists have said that that claim is outright bogus.
The 22-mile high speed chase that circled the city before taking ground in East Cleveland drew some 105 police officers and 64 police cruisers, both Williams and Russell, who were not wanted by the law, fleeing for their lives, the family attorneys have said.
Of the 105 police officers, other than those suspended or fired this week, 63 were suspended from one to 10 days. Additional suspensions, likely for less than two months, are forthcoming, city officials have said.
Brelo jumped aboard the hood of the 1979 Chevy Malibu driven by Russell and fired 49 shots through the front windshield, though by then the car was stopped, and even Prosecutor McGinty admitted to reporters that neither Williams nor Russell, both of them homeless with substance abuse problems, posed any immediate threat.
The 13 police officers at issue, including Brelo, proceeded to shoot the collective 137 bullets even when they were directed by police supervisors to yield. All of the Black officers ultimately involved in the car chase did, in fact, yield.
No gun was found at the deadly scene at Heritage Middle School where the chase ended.
Russell, 43, and Williams, 30, a passenger in the car, were gunned down in a fetal position in Russell's shot up car, Russell shot 23 times, and Williams, 24.
Also charged, but on second degree misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty, were five White police supervisors in a case now before East Cleveland Municipal Court Judge William Dawson, the brother of Cleveland Fox8 morning news anchor Wayne Dawson. They have all pleaded not guilty and are sergeants Patricia Coleman, Randolph Daley, Jason Edens, Michael Donegan and Lt.Paul Wilson. And all of them are still employed and on the job.(www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com).