CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland 19 obtained dashcam video of an October 2015 high speed chase that ended with multiple police officers shooting and killing 31-year-old Michael Brennan. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office has ruled that the deadly use of force was justified.
Six police officers shot and killed Brennan on Interstate 480 after a high-speed chase on Oct. 15, 2015. The chase started after Brennan allegedly robbed a Parma Heights Papa John's Pizza.
The incident, from when an employee at the Papa John's called 911 to when the chase ended lasted about eight minutes.
Prosecutors, in a report, pointed to three reasons why they came to the decision that the shooting was justified.
First the report pointed to the original crime of "aggravated robbery with a firearm." His family addressed that in a statement saying, "Though Michael Brennan struggled with serious drug addiction issues, and though his alleged participation in a robbery on October 15, 2015, is troubling, he – like any one of us – did not deserve to be shot and killed without justification."
The second thing that prosecutors pointed to in the report was that Brennan "posed an immediate threat to the police officers of others." The reports stated that Brennan "failed to comply" with officers and didn't show his hands to them after his pickup truck had stopped. The report also stated that Brennan "brandished a firearm" at officers. The gun was later shown to be fake, something that prosecutors said was immaterial to their investigation.
A representative from the prosecutor's office told Cleveland 19 that a shadow of what appeared to be a gun was visible on the video.
The report also pointed to the high speed chase itself, saying that Brennan showed a "wanton disregard for public safety." The report stated that the chase went through three communities and "put numerous motorists and officers in danger."
For those reasons, the prosecutor's report determined that the officers' actions were "objectively justifiable and reasonable" to both the prosecutor's office and a grand jury.
Brennan's family said in a statement that they plan to pursue an independent review what happened. The family also stated that, "it is critical to note that questions about whether the involved officers committed criminal offenses are separate and distinct from questions about whether the officers engaged in unconstitutional policing or whether they violated Michael Brennan's civil rights. Any conclusion by the Prosecutor's Office and any vote by the Grand Jury, if it has indeed been taken, does not address, nor resolve, the question of whether the use of force against Michael Brennan was constitutional."
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