CLEVELAND-- Almost all of the 13 Cleveland police officers involved in a shooting November 29 have been interviewed by state and local officials investigating the incident. The last officer will be interviewed Tuesday.
Investigators are now going to start interviewing the other officers that took part in the 25 minute chase, including the two officers who thought they heard a gunshot at the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland.
“I am still trying to get a list of who they want to come down here. We are cooperating and as they are giving me the people they want down here, we are bringing them down, another 10 to 15 more people, probably,” said Police Union President Jeff Follmer.
State investigators are also asking any Cleveland-area business owners who have surveillance videos from the chase to contact them as soon as possible.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is the lead investigator in the case. Agents have collected several surveillance videos from businesses located along the chase route, and they are hoping to find more
"We want to make sure this investigation is as thorough as possible," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "If you have a camera that recorded only a few seconds of the pursuit, our BCI agents would like to see it."
Anyone who owns a surveillance camera along that route, who has not previously been contacted by BCI regarding this investigation, is asked to contact agents at 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446).
The pursuit started on St. Clair Avenue after the officers thought they heard a gunshot being fired from the suspect’s vehicle. The chase ended in the parking lot of Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland.
The two suspects, Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, died after the 13 officers fired 137 gunshots into the vehicle.
Both Russell and Williams have criminal convictions. Russell led police on a similar high speed chase last year in Willowick and Mentor.
There was no gun or shell casings found in the car. A friend of Russell’s says he believes the loud noise officers heard was a backfire and not a gun.
“Whenever he would start the car up, he would have to pump the gas, because it had a carburetor. It wasn’t fuel injected, so whenever he would pump the gas, the gas would come up in the motor and it would shoot back,” said Minister Brian Haskin, a friend of Russell’s. “It would go voom, voom, voom, pow, every time he started it almost. heard it on a regular basis.”
Police union officials say they believe the officers’ actions were justified.
Cleveland Council members are planning to discuss the police department’s use of deadly force policy during the next public safety committee meeting January 9.
Click here to read more.