Possible Changes in Use of Deadly Force

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CLEVELAND -- As the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation continues its review of the Nov. 29 pursuit by Cleveland police that left two people dead, Mayor Frank Jackson says an internal investigation is underway, into whether the officers followed city policies, and whether Cleveland police policies and training are up to national standards.

An investigation was launched in November after a police chase ended with 13 Cleveland police officers firing 137 rounds at car carrying 43-year-old Timothy Russell and 30-year-old Malissa Williams.

Both Russell and Williams were shot multiple times and died at the scene.

Officials said the pursuit began in front of the Justice Center, where officers believed someone had fired at them.

The high-speed chase continued for 25 minutes before coming to an end in East Cleveland.

No gun or shell casings were found in the suspect’s vehicle.

Earlier this year, an organization called the Police Executive Research Forum recommended that Cleveland conduct internal police investigations at the same time as criminal investigations.

During a news conference on Thursday, Chief Michael McGrath said, "So you can bring some end for the families, rather than do the criminal and administrative, then it drags out for a year.  At least get a jump on it, is their recommendation, so that you can reach a conclusion."

But the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association says the city's administrative review might lead to a rush to judgment in the incident.

CPPA President Jeff Follmer told Fox 8, "I think there's political pressure to find these guys guilty of something. Right now, (we’re) getting out to the public that these guys did nothing wrong, and all the suspects had to do was stop and we're not even here today."

During the news conference, Mayor Jackson said City Hall is considering a plan to have an outside agency investigate all cases of deadly force.

"For the public to be confident that what happened was happening above board, transparent and has credibility, it's always best to have another set of eyes look at it," said Jackson.

In response, Follmer said, "You know, our homicide unit, prosecutors, city prosecutor, they're all capable of making determinations on these cases, I don't think every case has to go to an outside agency."

The mayor maintains City Hall has not reached any conclusions about the actions of officers involved in the incident.

Lt. Brian Betley, of the Fraternal Order of Police told, Fox 8, "If anything was done, perhaps outside any guidelines or anything else, a lot of times there's explanations why.  Suspects' actions dictate the way you handle yourself many times."

Jackson said he expects a city committee conducting the internal investigation to issue its recommendations by the end of January.

There is no timetable on the BCI investigation.

*For additional coverage on this case, click here

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