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Six Cleveland Police Officers Fired, Six Suspended for Roles in Deadly Chase and Shooting

January 26, 2016  | 

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook

Six Cleveland officers have been fired and six others suspended for their roles in a police chase and shooting that ended with the deaths of two unarmed people, city officials announced Tuesday, reports the Plain Dealer.

The announcement came more than three years after the officers were involved in a 22-mile chase that began near the downtown Justice Center and ended in a middle school parking lot in East Cleveland on Nov. 29, 2012. Thirteen officers then fired a total of 137 shots at a Chevrolet Malibu, killing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

The shooting lasted 19.3 seconds. The majority of the shots – approximately 120 – were fired in 10.3 seconds, officials said.

Officer Michael Brelo, the only officer to face criminal charges in the chase and shooting, is among the terminated officers. Brelo was acquitted in May of two counts of voluntary manslaughter. The acquittal resulted in days of mostly peaceful demonstrations that saw about 70 people arrested.

Public Safety Director Michael McGrath, who was police chief when the chase and shooting occurred, handed down the following discipline:

  • Patrolmen Michael Brelo, Wilfredo Diaz, Brian Sabolik and Michael Farley and detectives Christopher Ereg and Erin O'Donnell were fired.
  • Patrolmen Paul Box, Cynthia Moore, Randy Patrick, and Scott Sistek and Detective William Salupo were suspended for 21 days.
  • Detective Michael Rinkus was suspended for 22 days.

One of the officers who fired shots that night retired before he could be disciplined, officials said. Detective Michael Demchak, who investigators said fired four shots, did not receive a disciplinary letter.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis said Tuesday afternoon that the union has already filed grievances on behalf of the six fired officers, and will file more.


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