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Remembering the "137 shots" Cleveland police killing of two unarmed Blacks as Akron deals with the Jayland Walker "90 shots" Akron police killing.....By Cleveland activist Kathy Wray Coleman, a key organizer of nearly all of the "137 shots" anniversaries

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Pictured are "137 shots" unarmed Cleveland police fatal shooting victims Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell (pictured in goatee), and "60 shots" Ahron, Ohio police killing victim Jayland Walker

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio- The "137 shots" Cleveland police shooting deaths of unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, which occurred the deadly night of Nov. 29, 2012 when Cleveland police chased the duo via the car Williams was driving from downtown Cleveland to neighboring East Cleveland and gunned them down execution style, still haunts the two largely Black cities.

And the recent shooting by eight Akron, Ohio cops of unarmed Jayland Walker, 25, whom they gunned down with 90 bullets late last month, is a reminder of what Blacks routinely face when confronted by trigger-happy cops, regardless of the city, cops who are hellbent on gunning down unarmed Black people.

Community activists and other community members generally protest annually at Heritage Middle School on Nov 29, the anniversary date of the "137 shots," the last anniversary held on Nov 29, 2021 in the parking lot of Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland where the killings occurred and hosted by community activists and led by Cleveland activist Kathy Wray Coleman, who leads Imperial Women Coalition and Women's March Cleveland.

Nov 29, 2021  marked the nine-year anniversary of the tragic killings by Cleveland police of Williams, 30 at the time of her death, and Russell, 43, an event that is commonly known as "137 shots" for the number of shots Cleveland police took in unceremoniously gunning down the unarmed Black couple that was not not wanted by the law.

Speakers at the last anniversary rally included residents of Cleveland and East Cleveland, community activists, Black elected officials, and family members of Black people erroneously gunned down by Cleveland and greater Cleveland cops and other area law enforcement types, like, for example, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority police officers who recklessly shoot and kill young Black men. Also speaking was Scott Hawkins, who is the father of Arthur Keith, whom a CMHA police officer gunned down, as well as Issue 24 activists such as Alicia Kirkma, whose son was shot and killed by Cleveland police. Criminal justice reform activists, and women's rights and Black Lives Matter activists soke too, as did Cleveland Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell, East Cleveland Councilman Ernest Smith and East Cleveland School Board Member Dr Mary Rice and Dr Bennanaye Brooks, among others.

Black on Black Crime President Alfred Porter Jr, an annual co-organizer of the event along with Coleman and seasoned activist Art McKoy, say excessive force cases in the  community, whether its East Cleveland, an impoverished Black Cleveland suburb, or Cleveland itself, still merit attention.

Other activists agree with them as to the importance of keeping police reform and excessive force issues before the public during a time of national outcry and growing distrust by Black America in the nation's troubled and intrinsically racist legal system.

"The annual anniversary event is needed to remember the "137 shots" atrocity and to continue our push against excessive force killings by Cleveland police of defenseless Black people and for comprehensive police reforms across the board in Cleveland, neighboring East Cleveland, and elsewhere in Cuyahoga County,"  said  Coleman.

Coleman has been a key "137 shots" anniversary organizer since 2013 and she says that activists will continue to call for police reforms and changes in the legal system, including "changes under state law and the Rules of Criminal Procedure in Ohio as to a grand jury and indictment process that favors police and the wealthy, and disenfranchises Black people and poor people, among others."

The  last anniversary rally, held in November of 2021, also came on the heels of passage of Issue 24, a Cleveland police reform initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2021 that changes the city's office of professional standards and established a citizen-dominated community review commission that has public policy making authority.  Also at the rally and vigil, activists discussed outgoing Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson's no chase police, which among other mandates, precludes Cleveland police car chases of people absent a suspected felony, a mandate Jackson put in place following several reckless police chases and after Williams and Russell were chased by police by car from downtown Cleveland to neighboring East Cleveland and gunned down execution -style. A former four-term Black mayor and Cleveland's Longest serving mayor,  Jackson retired last year,

Newly elected Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and newly selected city council president Blaine Griffin have both said publicly that they will support such a no chase policy and activists will hold them to their promises at the rally and vigil, organizers for Monday's anniversary gathering have said.

Community activists say they will never forget the night nearly 10 years ago when Cleveland police chased Williams and Russell from Cleveland to East Cleveland and gunned them down with 137 bullets in a  car in the Heritage Middle School parking lot.

On that deadly November 29th night a White Cleveland cop, according to public records, claims he mistook Russell's 1979 Chevy Malibu Classic backfiring near the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland and began pursuit of the homeless couple, also radioing the dispatch to call for backup, which came in droves, precautionary measures be damned.

Some 276 patrol officers were working the night of the high speed 22 min. chase that ended in the Heritage Middle School parking lot in neighboring  and impoverished East Cleveland, a Cleveland suburb, Williams and Russell chased by some 64 patrol cars, and literally fleeing for their lives.

The city of Cleveland later settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $3 million that was split between the families of the two victims, Russell leaving behind a grown disabled son. Williams' parents have both since died.

Of the 13 Cleveland officers that fired the combined 137 shots at Russell and Williams, 12 White and one Hispanic, six were fired, including Michael Brelo, who jumped on the hood of Russell's car and shot 49 times through the front windshield, both Russell and Williams dying at the scene

Five of the six officers fired for their roles in the shooting had their jobs reinstated in 2017 by an arbitrator and are Michael Farley, Erin O'Donnell, Christopher Ereg, Wilfredo Diaz, and Brian Sabolik.

The  sixth officer, officer Brelo, was not reinstated after he was fired following his acquittal in May of 2015 on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in a bench trial before Democratic Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell, an acquittal that brought about community protests and some 71 arrests, mainly for minor infractions with police, though a few protesters faced felony charges.

Activists and some Black leaders, led by some Black members of 17-member Cleveland City Council such as Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell, all of them Democrats like O'Donnell, later blocked the common pleas judge as to his 2016 bid for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court, a race he lost by less than 24,000 votes.

A bid last year by the judge for a Supreme Court seat met the same opposition, O'Donnell, in turn, losing to incumbent Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican.

Cleveland police supervisors Patricia Coleman and Randolph Dailey, Michael Donegan, Jason Edens and Paul Wilson all initially faced  misdemeanor dereliction of duty charges regarding their roles in the celebrated shooting.

 

But charges were dismissed against Edens, Wilson and Donegan, and  Sgt. Coleman subsequently won an acquittal by an East Cleveland jury.

Sgt. Dailey's case never got duly prosecuted after Coleman won her case.

Former county prosecutor Tim McGinty, criticized for scheming and preventing felony indictments against the cops at issue, and also protecting the rookie cop that, in 2014, shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, was voted out of office in 2016 in favor of fellow Democrat and current county prosecutor Mike O'Malley.

The celebrated "137 shots" shooting fiasco is the impetus for a  court-monitored consent decree for police reforms with the city of Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice, it along with so many other excessive force police killings in Cleveland of unarmed Blacks including 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Brandon Jones, rapper Kenneth Smith, and Tanisha Anderson.

Other than Anderson 38, whom police slammed to the concrete and killed at the family home on Cleveland's east side in November 2014, the year Tamir was shot and killed, all were killed by gun fire from anxious cops. Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 August 2022 03:07

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The annual11th Congressional District Caucus Parade is Monday, September 2

11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus of Blacks in Congress. waives to the crowd last year at the annual 11th Congressional District Caucus Parade.  This year's parade kicks off on Monday, September 2 on Cleveland's east side at 10:00 am from E. 149th Street and Kinsman Road and ends at Luke Easter Park where the picnic will begin. The event will be replete with political speeches and entertainment from various sources, including local musicians and bands. The well-attended caucus parade was initiated by Democrat Louis Stokes, the retired congressman before Fudge, and the tradition was furthered by the late Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Fudges' predecessor. Stokes was the first Black congressperson from Ohio and Tubbs Jones was the first Black congresswoman from Ohio