Cleveland area churches protest officer verdict - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cleveland area churches protest officer verdict

Marchers protested in front of Justice Center. (Source: WOIO) Marchers protested in front of Justice Center. (Source: WOIO)
Church leaders organize a rally in downtown Cleveland. (Source: WOIO) Church leaders organize a rally in downtown Cleveland. (Source: WOIO)
Protesters marched from Justice Center to City Hall. (Source: WOIO) Protesters marched from Justice Center to City Hall. (Source: WOIO)
About 700 people marched to Cleveland City Hall. (Source: WOIO) About 700 people marched to Cleveland City Hall. (Source: WOIO)
The Greater Cleveland Congregations organized a rally Tuesday to protest the not guilty verdict in the trial of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo. At weekend services, the coalition, made up of about 40 area churches, urged people to march and seize on a controversial moment and turn it into a positive. 

With police escorting them for safety, they marched down Euclid to Public Square and turned north on Ontario toward the Justice Center. About 700 marchers took to the downtown Cleveland streets, walking and chanting from the Justice Center to City Hall. 

Group leaders signed a letter written to Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, urging him to quickly make changes, implement suggestions in the Justice Department decree and do it by July 15. 

On Saturday in a bench verdict, Judge John O'Donnell found Brelo not guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the November 2012 police chase and shooting that killed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. 

The church community has been very vocal about the Brelo case. Days ahead of the verdict, ministers met urging peace whenever the verdict came down. 

Church clergy expressed the purpose of the rally was to push for criminal justice reform. The ministers' mission was complete on Tuesday, but completing change will take longer. 

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