Photos: Judge viewing cars, parking lot in trial of officer accused in deadly chase, shooting

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The judge in the trial of Cleveland Officer Michael Brelo is viewing the cars involved in the Nov. 29, 2012 deadly police chase and shooting, that left Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, dead.

Judge O'Donnell is also viewing the parking lot in East Cleveland where the chase ended.

The trial for Officer Brelo resumed this morning in Cuyahoga County court. He's accused of two counts of manslaughter.

Also Friday, Prosecutor James Gutierrez questioned Cleveland Lt. Brandon Kutz, a training officer, at length about how officers are trained. He also asked Kutz about the department's use of force and pursuit policies that were in place during the time of the chase and shooting.

Kutz said Brelo had been retrained in July 2012, just a few months before the deadly chase and shooting.

Brelo's trial started on Monday.

Check back for LIVE COVERAGE of today's events.

Continuing coverage here.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:04 am

The trial has just resumed in the case of Cleveland Officer Michael Brelo.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:06 am

On the stand is training officer Brandon Kutz from the city of Cleveland, to discuss how officers are trained.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:10 am

Kutz says the criteria for officers to use deadly force in 2012 was in the instance of any life-threatening behavior that could cause injury or death to an officer. Officers at that time attended a class and were then tested on this policy.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:13 am

Cleveland police got a new use of force policy in 2013.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:15 am

Kutz: Training includes tactics for traffic stops, firearms use, cover and concealment, a wide range. There is also ambush training, which focuses on strengths and vulnerabilities with an officer in their cruiser. It involves engaging a target/threat from inside vehicle before exiting and finding cover. It’s taught that you can effectively engage a target through a windshield/car.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:19 am

Kutz: It’s taught that in a felony traffic stop situation, officers should pull suspects out of the car and bring them to the officers if possible. The term “Cleveland rush” means rushing to a car and engaging the suspects at the car. The term “Cleveland rush” is not taught in the training academy. It’s something that is done, but it is not part of an official policy. Kutz says it is dangerous.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:22 am

Kutz is emphasizing the importance of engaging a suspect to prevent anything further from happening in a potentially dangerous situation.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:26 am

Kutz: Officers trained to avoid crossfire at all times if possible

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:27 am

Kutz is now reviewing the vehicle pursuit policy that was effective in 2012.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:29 am

Kutz: An arrestable felony or misdemeanor offense warrants a pursuit. You must also consider if there is an immediate danger to the public if the suspect remains at large.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:30 am

You have to get “explicit” permission from your supervisor in order to give pursuit.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:38 am

Kutz says officers are supposed to also ask permission to join in a pursuit, but there were cases where “heavy radio traffic” prevented officers from doing that. That, in effect, is a violation of policy.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:41 am

Kutz says in 2012, pursuit policy was only taught in training academy, not for in-service officers. So all officers employed at that time generally had only been trained in that area during their training academy.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:46 am

Kutz says the policy regarding the number of cars allowed in a pursuit policy is 2 cars. The policy can be deviated. A supervisor can OK and permit that the number of cars can rise above 2.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:54 am

Kutz agrees it is very difficult for a supervisor to know who is in a pursuit if radio traffic becomes heavy. It’s important that a supervisor talks about these things/prepares for these situations before they happen.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 20159:56 am

An unmarked car should not be involved in a pursuit unless it has emergency lights/sirens. A marked car should always be the lead cruiser in the chase.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:01 am

Kutz says the PIT maneuver is one in which you try to hit a car in order to turn sideways to stop it. Kutz agrees officers are not trained in the maneuver, but it is a legitimate maneuver. Prosecutor Gutierrez demonstrates with model cars.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:05 am

Kutz says there is a “post ahead position,” where officers are trained to lay themselves on the hood of a car to engage a suspect who poses a deadly threat through their windshield. Kutz says officers are never taught to stand on a cruiser and shoot into a car. Kutz says he’s never seen an officer jump on a hood to shoot into a car.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:06 am

Kutz says Brelo was retrained in July 2012 after a traffic stop. Brelo had reached into a suspect’s car, and the car pulled away. Brelo’s partner fired a shot into the car.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:15 am

Brelo’s July 12 training included how to stop and pursue a suspect and weapons training.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:34 am

Brelo’s attorney Pat D’Angelo is now questioning Kutz.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:45 am

“You have to be prepared for anything,” Kutz says.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:49 am

Kutz: Pursuits are “difficult to manage.”

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:51 am

Kutz agrees that in 2012, the officers who responded to the pursuit were not getting annual in-service training on policy/methods of pursuit. He agreed that the only training of that type they would get would come from supervisors, and would vary from shift to shift and boss to boss.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:53 am

As to getting involved in a pursuit, Kutz says “It’s more of our duty to get involved, it’s our duty to fulfill this mission. Is it exciting? Absolutely…but there’s also a sense of duty there.”

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201510:54 am

Kutz says he knew a “good percentage” of all of the officers involved in the 2012 chase. He feels they were responding in “good faith” and out of a sense of duty.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:10 am

Kutz says he does not feel the officers involved in the chase were “out of control.”

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:20 am

When asked “would you find fault with an officer who follows a suspect into a parking lot?” Kutz answers ‘no.’

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:31 am

D’Angelo asks Kutz if standing on the hood of a car is inappropriate in any circumstance. Kutz says, “Anything is possible, I guess.”

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:40 am

D’Angelo asks if officers in the city have stop sticks. Kutz said “I saw them many years ago.”

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:42 am

D’Angelo ends his questioning.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:46 am

Kutz says he has heard that officers are less likely to get involved in pursuits now.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:46 am

Judge asks if you are in the lead car, if you know how many vehicles are behind you in a chase. Kutz says it would be hard for someone in the lead car to know that. Kutz says that it is a supervisor’s responsibility to manage a pursuit.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201511:53 am

Kutz is done on the stand. The judge has called a brief break until noon.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:05 pm

Stephen Bartczak, Cuyahoga County deputy sheriff, is now on the stand. He is assigned to the detective bureau.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:08 pm

Bartczak was a Bratenahl patrolman at the time, on duty the night of the chase. Bartczak responded to the Eddy Road overpass during the chase after hearing scanner traffic regarding the chase.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:14 pm

Bartczak testifies that he saw “a lot” of police cruisers involved in the chase, not all had their lights/sirens on.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:17 pm

Prosecutor Gutierrez has gotten permission to play dash cam video of the chase. The video is about nine minutes long. There is not a clear picture on the screen showing the proceedings here in the media room.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:20 pm

The video is that from Bartczak’s dash camera.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:28 pm

The video shows the recording from the actual chase portion of the incident.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:29 pm

Bartczak has been dismissed from the stand. He will be called to the stand again on Wednesday.

Darcie Loreno April 10, 201512:29 pm

The judge now is leaving the courtroom to view cars involved in the chase and the parking lot of the school where the shooting happened in East Cleveland.