Mayor Jackson Calls Deadly Chase Investigation ‘Tainted’

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CLEVELAND-- Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the investigation into last fall’s police chase and shooting is tainted. He said the person to blame is Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

"The attorney general, in doing what he did, really damaged the credibility of the process, and in doing that tainted the outcome," said Mayor Jackson.

Jackson sat down with reporters in his office Friday morning, blatantly saying that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine had mishandled the investigation into a police chase that led to a deadly shooting November 29.

"I will tell you that if the two people that were killed and shot 22 times were dogs, they would've had better consideration, more attention paid to them and more attention paid to whether or not it was handled according to the law and due process," the mayor said.

Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams died after a police chase that ended with 13 officers firing 137 shots into their car in East Cleveland.  No weapon was found in the car or along the chase route.

DeWine's office handled the investigation and Mayor Jackson said the attorney general called him and made a disturbing remark just before releasing the results to the public in February.

"I was concerned about the fact that he had mentioned to me before he held the press conference that if he were the county prosecutor, he would find that they did nothing wrong," Jackson said.

Mike DeWine told FOX 8, he would not comment on the mayor's accusation.

"In my 30 years of being involved in public office, when I have a private conversation with someone, it remains private and I'm not gonna break it this one time and I'm not gonna get into that," DeWine said.

Mayor Jackson also said he believes it was irresponsible for the attorney general to release all evidence in the case to the public before the county prosecutor made a decision on whether to indict the officers. He also is offended by DeWine's claim that there was a "systemic failure" in the police department.

Mayor Jackson said he has no opinion on the guilt or innocence of the officers involved.

"I still believe that no one can look at that investigation and not believe that there was a system failure of command, control and communication at the Cleveland Police Department," said DeWine.

"There was a failure; it was not systemic. It was a failure on the part of some supervisors and patrol officers to do what they knew they should have done," Jackson said.

County Prosecutor Tim McGinty must decide whether to file criminal charges against any of the 13 officers who fired their weapons.

McGinty released the following statement on Friday evening: “Our investigation of this case continues, and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has not impeded it. The BCI investigation was thorough and professional, and I had no objection to letting the public see the facts.  Police officers are public servants, and this is a matter of great public  importance.”

The mayor said he will wait until after that before looking into whether they broke any departmental rules.

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