Six of 13 Officers Fired After Shooting 137 Bullets at Two Unarmed Blacks

Six police officers in Cleveland have been fired in connection with the 2012 deadly shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, two unarmed Black people. One of the officers fired is Michael Brelo, who in 2014 was charged with manslaughter for his involvement with the shooting.

Related Story: Cleveland Makes a Deal with DOJ as City Erupts in Protests Over Officer’s Acquittal

On Nov. 29, 2012, an officer attempted to pull over the vehicle Russell was driving; when Russell did not comply, a police chase began. During the chase, officers heard what they believed to be gunshots but a subsequent search of Russell’s car did not turn up a firearm, and the sound was later believed to be Russell’s car backfiring. The chase ended in a school parking lot, where officers claimed they believed they saw a firearm in Russell’s car. Officers opened fire and, as they shot, thought some of the fire was coming from Russell’s car rather than from other officers.

Brelo jumped on the hood of the car and fired directly at the victims through the windshield even after the other officers had stopped firing. Brelo alone fired 49 of the 137 shots. Both victims were struck by at least 23 bullets.

Three years later, six officers are being firing and six face suspensions ranging from 21 to 30 days. A seventh officer who would have faced suspension retired last year.

In addition to Brelo, three other officers, Wilfredo Diaz, Brian Sabolik and Michael Farley, now face termination, as well as two detectives, Christopher Ereg and Erin O’Donnell.

Steve Loomis, president of the city’s largest police union, is appealing the six firings.

“It’s tragic that it went down this way, but at the end of the day, two people high on crack cocaine, high on marijuana, one of them intoxicated, made the decisions that they made and we responded to them,” Loomis said of the shooting. “And we responded within our training.”

Director of Public Safety and former Police Chief Michael McGrath, though, said “general police orders” were not followed.

“There are manual rules and regulations that we expect officers to comply with,” he said. “If they didn’t comply with those particular general police orders or manual rules and regulations, I sustained charges.”

The chase, which spanned a total of 22 miles, ultimately involved a total of 62 police vehicles, 18 supervisors and 105 officers, according to The 137 bullets fired at Russell and Williams were all fired in less than 20 seconds, the majority of them in less than 10. The website also reports, “Of [the supervisors], 12 received administrative charges. One was terminated, two were demoted and nine were suspended anywhere from three to 30 days. Seventy-four [of the officers involved] were brought up on administrative charges, with 63 being suspended anywhere from one to 10 days. Seven received non-disciplinary letters, one received a written reprimand and three officers had their administrative charges dismissed.”

Out of all those officers involved in the brutal attack, only one faced criminal charges.

Brelo was charged with involuntary manslaughter for his actions by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty the same prosecutor who failed to indict Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the officers involved in 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s death. Brelo, who fired a total of 49 shots (double that of any of the other officers on the scene), was acquitted in 2015 because it could not be definitively proven that Brelo’s shots were fatal. Shortly after his acquittal, the Department of Justice revealed its disturbing findings of a “pattern or practice of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment” in the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) and proposed an agreement for major departmental changes.

Related Story: No Indictment in Tamir Rice’s Murder

The Tamir Rice case also called into question the use of excessive force against Blacks by the Cleveland police. Rice was playing with a toy pellet gun at a recreation center when Officer Loehmann, who was a rookie at the time, pulled up with Garmback and gunned down Rice within seconds. Loehmann remains on the force and has been on desk duty since the shooting.

The fact that no other officers were indicted in Russell and Williams’ deaths is not surprising, though, when taking into consideration the criticism McGinty has drawn to himself for his words and behavior regarding Rice’s murder, which he described as a “perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communications” and said “did not indicate criminal conduct of police.”

Latest News

Abbott Launches the First Infant Formula in Canada with an Ingredient Identical in Structure to Immune Component Found in Breast Milk

Originally published on Abbott ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020. 2′-Fucosyllactose Oligosaccharide†(2′-FL†) is now available in Abbott’s infant formula, Similac Pro-Advance® HMOs, like 2′-FL, in breast milk help support a baby’s immune system [1] HMOs, like 2′-FL, feed good bacteria in the…


Veterans Recovery Resources of Mobile Receives $100,000 Cigna Foundation Grant to Provide Mental Health Services to Area Veterans

Originally published on For the second year in a row, the Cigna Foundation will provide a $100,000 grant to Veterans Recovery Resources, a community-based, non-profit organization that offers professional clinical care and peer-based wellness programs to military service members, veterans, families, caregivers and survivors in southwest Alabama and surrounding areas. Building on the…

aging and infected human cells

Racism Can Trigger Premature Aging; Trump Administration Loses Battle With Women Detained for Speaking Spanish; and More

Two new studies highlight damaging impact of racism on cells and the body Racism not only increases stress levels in the body, but also causes the body to age faster according to the results of two alarming new studies. In the first, conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the…

thanksgiving, truth

The Truth You May Not Know About Thanksgiving

On Thursday, Nov. 26, many Native Americans and their allies across the country will observe the 51st National Day of Mourning. While most Americans will sit down to Thanksgiving dinners — albeit (hopefully) smaller ones than in years past due to COVID-19 — this counter-observance is designed as an ongoing…

President-elect Joe Biden

President-Elect Joe Biden’s Potential New Cabinet Filled With Historic Firsts; New Report Details the Top 10 Careers Most Impacted by COVID-19; and More

President-elect Biden continues his push for an administration that “looks like America.” With more than a month to go until he is even sworn in as the 46th president of the United States and his transition to the office finally underway after weeks of delay, President-elect Joe Biden is already…