CLEVELAND-- As Cleveland Police chased a car driven by a fleeing suspect through neighborhoods on the city's east side last Thursday night, a supervisor in the Fifth District directed his officers to end the pursuit.
The unidentified sergeant is heard on police dispatch tapes saying, "No cars have permission to be pursuing. Copy 5th district cars, you copy, terminate." But the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association tells the I-Team that other officers involved in the chase were on different radio channels, and would not have heard the supervisor calling off the Fifth District officers.
Another focus of the investigation of the pursuit and deadly shooting that followed, is why some officers reported seeing a gun being handled by the driver or passenger during the chase, while on radio dispatch tapes, others disputed that notion.
One patrolman is heard saying, "There's a pop can in his hands. There's a red pop can in his hands. Just be advised." Another officer said, "He does not have a gun. He has black gloves on. He does not have a gun in his hands."
The chase ended when the car reportedly rammed a police car, and came to a stop at Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland.
13 police officers then fired a total of 137 rounds into the car, killing the driver, 43-year-old Timothy Russell and his passenger, 30-year-old Malissa Williams.
A search would later reveal there were no guns or shell casings inside in the car.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's office says Malissa Williams, was shot 24 times, and Timothy Russell, 23 times. Toxicology results and testing on whether either of them fired a weapon are pending.
The city of Cleveland reported on Monday that 12 of the officers are white, and one is Hispanic.
An online check of the backgrounds of the officers reveals that a number of them have been in the news before. Detectives Michael Demchak and Erin O'Donnell were involved in a 2009 confrontation with a guard along the fence line at the Northeast Pre-Release Center, that resulted in the city paying a $900,000 out of court settlement.
Detective Michael Rinkus was one of 8 officers involved in a September 2011 shooting of a domestic violence suspect, who pointed a gun at the officers.
All 13 officers remain on restricted duty, pending the outcome of the various investigations.
I-Team Reporter Peggy Sinkovich has more on the background of one of the suspects.
Watch her story below.