Day 6: Supervisors plead the Fifth in Officer Michael Brelo's trial

Day 6: Supervisors plead the Fifth in Officer Michael Brelo's trial
Michael Brelo on trial in shooting death of two people. (Source: WOIO)
Sgt. Michael Flanagan is first to take the stand on Monday. (Source: WOIO)
Sgt. Michael Flanagan is first to take the stand on Monday. (Source: WOIO)

In day six of Officer Michael Brelo's trial, prosecutors are continuing a methodical approach to the case, which has at times allowed defense attorneys a window of opportunity to create doubt.

A view from a second Bratenahl cruiser of the police chase that proceeded the deadly shooting supports a defense claim that not all of the cars were just chasing Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. Video shows cars pulling off to block side streets so that no cross traffic was hit.

Bratenahl Police Sgt. Michael Flanagan saw only a few cars chasing, and arrived at the scene as the shooting began.

"I heard a cease fire twice," said Flanagan.

"OK, and the first one was when the shots were fired?" asked an attorney.

"Yes," responded Flanagan.

"How about the second one?" asked the attorney.

"The second one was a few seconds later, they yelled 'cease fire' and the shots stopped," said Flanagan.

The defense was able to establish that officers easily could have thought that shots were coming at them from the Malibu with Russell and Williams inside.

"You really don't know whether any of those shots could have been ringing out from the occupants of the suspect vehicle?" asked lead defense attorney Patrick D'Angelo.

"No, I could not tell where they were coming from," answered Flanagan.

That testimony could support the claim that many officers were operating under the presumption that they were chasing an active shooter.

As expected, several supervisors who are co-defendants with Michael Brelo but on far less serious charges, invoked their right not to incriminate themselves.

"If she were called to the stand would she testify?" asked Judge John O'Donnell.

"Judge, she would exercise her Fifth Amendment right."

Det. Michael Demchak has already asserted his right not to self-incriminate. Prosecutors vigorously objected to the Demchak request, but Judge O'Donnell ruled it was his right to assert his rights.

Another prosecution witness's testimony spoke to a defense claim that if there was a gun, it could have been ditched during the chase.

"If somebody's coming along and they see it, if it's of value, you know people, they gonna stop. 'Hey I got something free.'" said Cleveland Detective Roland Mitchell.

Next, medical evidence will be reviewed. The prosecution believes that the entry angles of the suspects' wounds will prove that the voluntary manslaughter charge against Brelo is warranted.

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