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Cleveland police being reminded to have riot equipment ready

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In light of the riots in Baltimore, Mayor Frank Jackson has issued a public letter discussing Cleveland's plans as the trial for Officer Michael Brelo nears an end.

Cleveland police have also been reminded to have their equipment ready in case of riots.

The defense this week has continued to present its case in the trial of Brelo, 31, charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The two led police on a 22-minute chase before being shot and killed in November 2012.

A letter from Jackson was posted on the city's website Wednesday morning to let the public "know that the City of Cleveland has been planning and is prepared to address upcoming developments."

The letter states:

In the wake of the tragic events that unfolded in Baltimore, and bearing in mind the series of police-related matters and legal proceedings currently in process here in Cleveland, I am writing to let you know that the City of Cleveland has been planning and is prepared to address upcoming developments.

As I am sure you are aware, it is likely that the trial of Officer Michael Brelo will conclude within the next few days. Other high-profile cases are still pending, as well as continued negotiations with the Department of Justice.

Clearly, these are very complex situations that affect people at every level in our community. We are focused on how best to create a sense of safety, trust and confidence in our community, while empowering our police to enforce the law and maintain order.

We are planning for a variety of contingencies and are being very proactive in both communication and outreach. We are partnering with community and faith-based leaders, corporate entities and individuals to foster an environment that informs audiences about the changes taking place, while recognizing the importance of listening and engaging with all parties involved. We all have a shared responsibility for maintaining peace and order moving forward.

More than ever, let us work together to ensure that Cleveland is a community where all citizens receive the respect they expect and deserve.

Sincerely,

Frank G. Jackson
Mayor

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell is hearing the Brelo case, instead of a jury. On Sunday, he rejected a motion by Brelo’s attorneys to dismiss the charges.

Continuing coverage of the trial of Michael Brelo here.