A Cleveland police officer was acquitted Saturday of charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two unarmed people in a 137-shot barrage following a high-speed car chase.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell ruled that Michael Brelo, 31, a white officer, acted within his constitutional rights in the November 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, two unarmed black occupants in the vehicle.
The judge, after reading a 34-page summary of the case, said he found that “Brelo’s entire use of deadly force was a constitutionally reasonable response to an objectively reasonably perceived threat of great bodily harm from the occupants of the Malibu, Russell and Williams.”
Brelo, his lips quivering, appeared near tears, as the judge delivered the verdict. He then embraced his attorneys and left the courtroom.