Officers Cry During Deadly Chase Findings

RICHFIELD, Ohio — State agents and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Tuesday morning revealed the results of an investigation into the November 29 Cleveland police chase and fatal shooting.

A press conference was held at Richfield BCI at 10 a.m., during which DeWine detailed parts of a 290-page report. *Click here for the full report

Police Union President Jeff Follmer said several of the police officers involved in the incident told him they cried as they listened to DeWine outline his findings.

All officers involved in the investigation were 100 percent cooperative and never invoked their Miranda rights, according to DeWine.

Officials say the chase started at the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland after a police officer said he thought someone in the suspect’s vehicle fired at him.

Security video from RTA shows more than 50 cars involved in the chase at certain points. DeWine said Tuesday that there were 62 officers following along the chase route, which at times reached speeds of 100 mph. The pursuit lasted 22 minutes.

Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams died after 13 officers fired 137 shots into their car.

Both suspects had drugs in their system at the time of the incident, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner. It was also revealed Tuesday that Williams was a paranoid schizophrenic.

According to BCI’s investigation, no weapon was found in Russell’s car, along the chase route or in nearby waterways. There was, however, gun residue found on both Russell and Williams, but DeWine said the results didn’t reveal anything.

“Gunshot residue found on Russell and Williams were consistent with firing a gun and not firing a gun. The results tell us nothing on whether or not suspects had a gun, or did not have a gun,” DeWine said, adding that it was possible the residue came from the shots being fired at Russell and Williams.

DeWine said all the officers believed they were being fired at by the suspects and feared for their lives. One officer in particular with military experience said he’d never been so terrified in his life, including during his service.

DeWine called the chase a “systemic failure in the Cleveland Police Department.”

According to Cleveland police policy, officers are not allowed to join a pursuit without permission from a supervisor. DeWine said of the 62 officers involved in the chase, 59 of them never asked permission to join the pursuit.

Additionally, because many officers had switched to the police channel where the chase originated, they did not hear their own supervisors’ commands to stop pursuing.

“Command failed. Communication failed. System failed,” DeWine said. “Officers failed to follow rules, misinterpreted facts. However, by failing to provide necessary support, the system failed officers.”

“On November 29, 2012, the system failed everyone” DeWine said.

The case is in the hands of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. It will then be presented to the Grand Jury.

Tuesday evening, Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath met with members of command staff, which includes deputy chiefs and district commanders. It was not immediately known what they discussed.

*For additional coverage on the deadly Cleveland police chase, click HERE

Follow along for updates from the press conference in our blog, below:

Kara Sutyak February 5, 20131:40 pm

Mayor press conference has ended.

Kara Sutyak February 5, 20131:40 pm

Mayor Jackson: If Cleveland officers were within the box of protocol, they will be protected.

Kara Sutyak February 5, 20131:38 pm

Mayor Jackson: We will do our job, and we will do our job professionally, transparently and above board.

Kara Sutyak February 5, 20131:38 pm

Mayor Jackson on when to expect disciplinary action: The city waited for Attorney General, BCI report. Now, the city will move ahead quickly.

Kara Sutyak February 5, 20131:37 pm

Mayor Jackson: We are not responsible for the criminal side or the force-of-use side. BCI has made its conclusion on the police chase.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:33 pm

Mayor Jackson says since taking office, the city has been diligent to install protocols and procedures to protect officers, public.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:26 pm

Mayor Jackson: We supply police officers resources they need to do their job in a professional way — overtime, weapons, cars, etc.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:22 pm

McGrath: Once the review’s completed, we will determine if people followed the procedures. If they didn’t, they will be held accountable.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:18 pm

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath and Mayor Frank Jackson

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:17 pm

Mayor Jackson: We will do our job, as we committed in the beginning. We will overlay policy and procedure on evidence as it presents itself.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:15 pm

Chief McGrath: As we go through the review process, if we discover officers did not comply, some will be held accountable.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:14 pm

Chief McGrath: We will determine whether or not any officers violated policy, rules or regulation. Officers will be held accountable.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:14 pm

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath: The state does not have jurisdiction to determine if officer action was justified/not justified.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 20131:14 pm

Mayor Jackson: The city is moving forward with administrative review, after BCI investigation of deadly Cleveland police chase, shooting

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:45 am

Press conference concludes.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:44 am

DeWine: Not second-guessing that there was a pursuit, but system broke down during the process.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:43 am

DeWine: There was no control for what was going on during that pursuit. Total lack of control, total lack of decision-making.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:38 am

BCI agent: Dashcam did not show shooting incident, but audio caught final shots.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:35 am

DeWine: Mayor Jackson and Marty Flask are committed to making best possible police department.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:31 am

DeWine: We got as close as we’re ever going to get to the truth. No investigation is perfect.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:31 am

DeWine: When I took job, I told victims’ families, “We’ll leave no stone unturned.” Public and community deserves the truth. That was our mission.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:30 am

McGinty: We want the truth, want all facts out there.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:29 am

McGinty: We’ll present this case to Grand Jury.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:29 am

McGinty: If officers overreact, let offender control event, police become larger danger to public.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:28 am

McGinty: This is a very difficult case.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:28 am

McGinty: We do not want to see history repeat itself.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:28 am

McGinty: Friendly fire that tore up vehicles … It’s a miracle that there weren’t more burials from this event.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:27 am

McGinty: The only thing that could have made this chase worse if innocent drivers had been killed, or Cleveland police shot their own officers.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:26 am

McGinty: We see many disturbing facts here. Neither Russell or Williams deserved to be killed that night.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:24 am

McGinty thanks CPD for recognizing the investigation was bigger than their own agency. Officers were 100% cooperative. They never invoked Miranda rights.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:23 am

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty thanks DeWine, BCI, several other agencies.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:19 am

DeWine: Prosecuting attorney has the report. BCI is done.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:17 am

DeWine: Violations all over the place. Lack of command, lack of control. In the end, when police officers are in life or death situations, making split-decisions, their subjective decisions have to be controlled by training, practice, discipline … command. This is a failure of command.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:16 am

DeWine: System failed these officers.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:15 am

DeWine: Officers have to make split-second decisions. They were under a tremendous amount of stress. System has to be strong enough to override extreme stress. Policy, training, communication and command has to be so strong to prevent spiraling out of control.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:14 am

DeWine: On November 29, 2012, the system failed everyone.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:13 am

DeWine: Officers failed to follow rules. Misinterpreted facts. However, by failing to provide necessary support, system failed officers.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:12 am

DeWine: Pursuit risked lives of many, many officers. Candidly, quite frankly, it’s a miracle that many officers weren’t killed.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:11 am

DeWine: Officers who believed vehicle may have backfired failed to radio that belief

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:10 am

DeWineL: Systemic failure in Cleveland Police Department. Command failed. Communication failed. System failed.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:09 am

DeWine: Each officer believed they were dealing with passenger who was brandishing gun and was firing at police officer. That’s likely not true.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:08 am

DeWine: Tragedy for Russell, Williams, tragedy for their families. Also exceedingly difficult and tough for each of law enforcement officers involved. It could of ended without tragic results.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:07 am

DeWine: CPD will seek effort from outside administrative review of future chases.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:06 am

DeWine: Few officers told to stop did not hear “order to cease” command because they were on wrong channel.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:05 am

DeWine: Sector Supervisor was only aware of three vehicles in chase. There were 62.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:04 am

DeWine: 59 cruisers did not ask for permission.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:04 am

DeWine: Supervisors told officers to stop, officers didn’t hear them because they were on a different channel.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:03 am

DeWine: Policy –Pursuing officers shall switch to channel of district of occurrence if operating on another channel.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:02 am

DeWine: There was no radio traffic requesting permission to join pursuit.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:02 am

DeWine: police code: Officers may not join pursuit without supervisor’s permission.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201311:00 am

DeWine: Officers of multi-jurisdictional chase are supposed to switch back to channel of originating city.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:58 am

DeWine: Both suspects positive for cocaine.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:56 am

DeWine: Gunshot residue found on Russell and Williams consistent with firing a gun and not firing a gun. The results tell us nothing on whether or not suspects had a gun, or did not have a gun.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:54 am

DeWine: Video showed no evidence of suspect’s weapon.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:54 am

DeWine: No weapon found in waterways.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:53 am

DeWine: No weapon found along chase route.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:52 am

DeWine: No weapon was located in suspect’s vehicle.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:52 am

DeWine: In total: 137 shots, 17.8 seconds of gunfire.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:50 am

DeWine: Officers appeared to be in state of shock after the end of shooting and chase.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:50 am

DeWine: Officers who did not fired weapons felt deadly force was justified.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:50 am

DeWine: A wave form analysis determined that first round of fire lasted 8.5 seconds. Final round lasted 5.1 seconds.13 officers fired weapons. Felt they had no other choice.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:48 am

DeWine: Another detective saw glass exploding. Thought officers were taking fire. Thought suspect was loading gun. He fired 6 shots.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:47 am

DeWine: Female detective took cover, She thought driver was shooting and passenger was reloading. She fired several rounds into suspect’s vehicle. She shot 12 times.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:46 am

DeWine: The detective thought suspects were wearing bulletproof vests because the gunfire carried on so long. He saw officer scrambling around. He thought shots were coming into passenger side of a police cruiser. As detective got closer, he heard officers say, “they’re shooting at us.”

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:44 am

DeWine: Another detective heard shots fired. Heard on transmission, “They’ve got a gun, shots fired. They’re shooting at us.” He also remembers hearing the pop can transmission.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:43 am

DeWine: Detective got out of car. Bullets flying everywhere. Returned fire, ran for cover. Thought officer fell. He fired 13 rounds.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:43 am

DeWine: Another officer felt bullet go past him. He told investigators that that increased anxiety. He remembers trying to work shotgun, then found himself without bulletproof vest. He fired once.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:41 am

DeWine: Officer Randy Patrick also observed cruiser hit suspect vehicle. Believed suspect was firing at him. Patrick went for cover, crawled on ground, looked inside cruiser and saw bullets. Let some rounds off, went down again. Then everything stopped. He fired 9 rounds.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:39 am

DeWine: Another officer shot two rounds into suspect vehicle, then ran for cover behind his car. He actually fired four rounds. Officer said, “Scariest thing he’s ever seen in his life.”

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:38 am

DeWine: Officer said he couldn’t understand why suspects were still moving. He said he’s never been more scared, even in his military duties.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:37 am

DeWine: Officer said “I’ve never been so terrified in my life.” To avoid hit of suspect vehicle, to avoid shots fired, etc. officer climbed on top of cruiser, fired downward into suspect vehicle.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:36 am

DeWine: Another officer observed suspect vehicle come towards him. He incorrectly thought shots were fired at him. Drew his weapon, shot threw own windshield, and into the suspect’s vehicle.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:35 am

DeWine: Officer Moore said shooting went on forever. She said she scared and trying not to get killed.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:34 am

DeWine: She returned fire after she thought shots were being fired.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:34 am

DeWine: Officer Cynthia Moore and partner saw cruiser strike suspect vehicle. She said she thought she saw guns pointed at her.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:33 am

DeWine: A detective observed the cruiser hit the suspect vehicle, then another officer hit the ground. The detective incorrectly thought the officer had been hit.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:32 am

DeWine: Another officer said he feared that he was about to be struck and fired at the suspect vehicle.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:32 am

DeWine: Suspect vehicle continued to head towards officers after one officer hit it.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:31 am

DeWine: Officer fired one to three times at Russell, thinking they were armed. They were not.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:30 am

DeWine: In the parking lot, one officer’s vehicle made contact with suspect’s vehicle. Officer believed suspect’s to be armed. Officer quickly exited vehicle, observed Malissa Williams pulling a black object, he believed to be a gun.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:28 am

DeWine: Officer said on transmission at end of chase: “Shots fired, shots fired. Watch the crossfire.”

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:27 am

DeWine: At one point during pursuit, one officer said: “Passenger just put hands out, asking us to stop. He does not have a gun. There’s a pop can in his hand.”

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:26 am

DeWine: All 13 officers said they heard radio transmissions report suspect had gun. Also, that suspect had rammed officer’s cruiser.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:26 am

DeWine: During pursuit, officers believed suspect had already fired at officers, and was reloading gun.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:25 am

DeWine: Pursuing suspect lasted 22 miles, reached at times 100 mph. At one minute, 62 police officers following along chase route.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:24 am

DeWine: At least two officers reported that they heard vehicle backfire. They did not report it to dispatch.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:23 am

DeWine: Suspect vehicle didn’t stop, officer said to dispatch: “passenger pointing gun out back window.”

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:21 am

DeWine: BCI agents discovered that car had backfired.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:21 am

DeWine: Four detectives from CPD, a security guard, and parking attendant heard loud noise from suspect vehicle — was consistent with a gunshot.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:20 am

DeWine: Officer never reported it to dispatch.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:19 am

DeWine: Officer said his intention was to investigate suspect vehicle, passengers were screaming and unruly. Suspect vehicle then took off.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:18 am

DeWine: Footage from 53 surveillance, traffic and homeland security cameras collected; 243 potential pieces of evidence.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:16 am

DeWine: Malissa Williams was paranoid schizophrenic.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:14 am

DeWine: During 2-month investigation, agents conducted 120 interviews. Every single officer was fully cooperative.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:13 am

DeWine: 48 BCI agents worked on this case.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:13 am

DeWine: Felt strongly that information be released to public.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:12 am

DeWine: Typically, we would turn over investigation to prosecuting attorney, however, there is nothing normal about this case.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:12 am

Attorney General Mike DeWine: We have completed our investigation.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:07 am

Members of the media wait for press conference to start.

Lindsay Buckingham February 5, 201310:02 am

Press conference set to begin any minute.