Cleveland NAACP responds after officers involved in '137-shots' - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cleveland NAACP responds after officers involved in '137-shots' chase get jobs back

File photo (Source: WOIO) File photo (Source: WOIO)
DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Michael Brelo will remained fired, but five other Cleveland police officers involved in the 137-shots chase are getting their jobs back. 

Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams died in that 2012 police chase. A member of the Cleveland Clergy Alliance has described the chase as such: "Two unarmed citizens were shot down like dogs -- 137 shots by Cleveland police officers."

This week, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson issued a statement on the arbitration between the city of Cleveland and the city's police union, stemming from the shooting.

Here's what Jackson had to say:

“Today, an arbitrator issued an opinion regarding the discipline issued to 12 officers who fired their weapons in the police pursuit of Nov. 29, 2012 that resulted in the death of two people. 

The city terminated six of those officers and gave lengthy suspensions to the other six. We are pleased that the arbitrator confirmed the severity of the violations committed by the officers and that he upheld the termination of Officer Brelo and that he upheld the lengthy suspensions for the six officers who the city had not terminated. 

We believe that the city’s decision to terminate the other five officers was justified and should have been upheld. We acknowledge that the arbitrator concluded that those officers committed serious policy violations; however, we are reviewing our options regarding the officers whose terminations were not upheld.”

The Cleveland Branch of the NAACP has responded to the reinstatement:

Cleveland, Ohio, June 14, 2017...The decision by Arbitrator William Heekin to reinstate five Cleveland Police officers involved in the police chase and killing of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams is an ongoing miscarriage of justice. 

The arbitrator ignored the seriousness of the officers’ conduct and concluded that the positive work history of the officers outweighed the loss of life of two unarmed Americans. While the families of Malissa and Tim continue to grieve, the arbitrator found that officers acting as an undisciplined mob was excusable behavior.

The conduct of the officers becomes more egregious when compared to the tactics and non-lethal force employed by the North Royalton Police who were recently involved in arresting and subduing a suspect in a multiple homicide in that city. 

This outrageous decision is a reminder of how unbalanced the scales of justice are and underscores Mayor Frank Jackson’s February 2015 statement that the “entire criminal justice continuum” be examined.

In light of this very disappointing decision by Arbitrator Heekins, the Cleveland NAACP couldn’t agree more with the Mayor’s statement.

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