Families Respond to Deadly Chase Review Findings

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CLEVELAND-- There's more fallout from last fall's deadly police chase and shooting that began in Cleveland and ended in East Cleveland.

Wednesday afternoon, city officials released results of an administrative review dealing specifically with the chase.

"The evidence presented by the review committee indicates there were procedure infractions relative to these officers involved in the pursuit," said Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath.

McGrath said it now seems clear that some police officers violated departmental rules when they took part in a police chase that ended in a deadly shooting on November 29.

City officials said the review gives an indepth look at the actions of the officers and their supervisors.  It will now be up to Chief McGrath to determine what discipline offending officers might face.

"We knew there were going to be some violations out there; our officers think of officer safety and sometimes in the heat of the moment, they are worried about their fellow officers," said Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association.

Investigators said the 22-minute pursuit began when an officer thought someone fired at him outside of the Justice Center.

They said 98 officers and 15 supervisors were involved in some aspect of the chase, and they said some officers violated policy by continuing to pursue after supervisors had called them off.

It ended in East Cleveland with officers firing 137 rounds, killing 43-year-old Timothy Russell and his passenger, 30-year-old Malissa Williams.

"If the officers would have obeyed the rules and the regulations of their supervisors and stopped pursuing them, I believe they would be alive today," said Williams' uncle Walter Jackson.

"Anybody would be scared with that damned many cars chasing you like that," said Williams' mother Martha Williams.

Attorney Terry Gilbert represents the estate of Timothy Russell, through Russell's 16-year-old son.

We caught up with him at a meeting in East Cleveland where community activists addressed concerns about recent crimes against women and police shootings.

"Why are so many people in that department willfully and deliberately violating basic rules and procedures? I mean somewhere along the line, the top has to take responsibility for what's going on at the bottom," Gilbert said.

There is no word on how long it will take Chief McGrath to determine what discipline will be taken against any officers.

It is still up to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed.

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