Judge to decide if charges against Cleveland police officers in deadly chase should be dropped
CLEVELAND – A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge will now try to determine if charges against six Cleveland police officers should be dismissed.
Defense attorneys said they believe the charges should be dropped because they say statements their client’s gave to their employer were used to obtain criminal indictments.
In the past the city waited to get officers statements for internal matters until the criminal case was resolved, but this time that wasn’t done, which is something Judge John O’Donnell questioned.
“This case has some elements that are out of the ordinary,” said Judge O’Donnell during Thursday’s hearing. “Why risk what’s happening here right now, I mean this indictment could be dismissed.”
Six officers face charges for their roles in the November 2012 police chase and shooting. Two unarmed suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were, killed.
“The defense has made a big deal that this is the first time this stuff happens, well, this is the first time in the city’s history that two people were chased for 22 minutes and two unarmed people are dead,” said James Gutierrez, an assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.
The defense attorneys said the officers were forced to give those statements to their employer or else they would be fired.
“You got to understand, judge, we are talking about guarantees these individuals are given by the Cleveland Police Department,” said Defense Attorney Mark Stanton.
The judge said he is going to take the matter under advisement before releasing a ruling.