CLEVELAND– One by one, 13 police officers are talking to investigators from BCI, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and East Cleveland police, about a deadly chase that ended with two suspects dead.
Before talking to them, each officer is being read his or her legal rights against self incrimination.
The November 29 chase was prompted by one officer’s belief that one of the occupants in the suspects’ car fired a shot at them near the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland.
During the pursuit, several patrolmen reported seeing the driver or passenger with what they believed to be a gun in their hands.
No guns or shell casings were found in the car.
Sources tell Fox 8 that at least two officers may have reloaded their weapons during the shooting, and one patrolmen allegedly continued to fire into the car. In all, 137 rounds were fired.
43-year-old Timothy Russell and 30-year-old Malissa Williams both died.
Meanwhile, a city police officer used his own cell phone to video tape Williams when she was arrested late last month, just a few days before she was a passenger in a car that led Cleveland police on a 25-minute high speed chase that ended in East Cleveland.
The officer used his phone to video tape Williams because she was ranting, using vulgar language and threatening officers. The video tape has been turned over to state investigators that are investigating the chase and police-involved shooting.
Williams’ relatives say she suffered from a mental illness. They don’t believe she was violent or would hurt anyone.
“There are a lot of questions, like why the chase? How long the chase? Why did they shoot the car? All the chatter on the radio about a gun, is there a gun, not a gun, creating their hysteria within themselves, all this needs to be looked at,” said Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says he meets daily with the chief to get updates on the case. “We have some work to do there,” Jackson said. “We are going to do our job and those who behaved improperly will be dealt with.”
Police Union President Jeff Follmer says he believes his officers’ actions were justified.
At a few times during the brief ride to jail, Williams threatens to kill officers. She continued making threats when she was brought inside the jail.
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