CLEVELAND - There is one family that is very relieved to hear a verdict of not guilty. The family of officer Michael Brelo.
“It’s just like a 10,000 pound weight lifted from our backs,” said Paul Brelo, father of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo. “We are grateful Michael was exonerated.”
Michael Brelo had been indicted on two counts of aggravated manslaughter. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell acquitted Brelo Saturday.
Brelo was on trial for his actions in the November 29, 2012 chase and deadly shooting. Two suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were killed after 13 officers fired 137 shots. Police had thought the suspects were shooting at them. No gun was found on the suspects.
Paul Brelo says while he knows many may not agree with what happened or how is son reacted that night, he wants everyone to know one fact about Michael.
“My son is not a racist rambo,” Paul Brelo said. “My son has no racial animosity in him, whatsoever.”
Paul Brelo added he and his son feel badly for the families of Russell and Williams.
Brelo is currently on an unpaid leave, and will most likely face administrative charges, which could lead to him being fired.
But his Dad, said his son has not yet decided if he wants to return to the force.
“I think he wants to think about it, and I hope the city of Cleveland will let him,” Paul Brelo said.
He added that he and his family are praying for the five other officers, who are still facing dereliction of duty charges for their role in the chase and shooting.
“The police are trying to do a job for not a whole lot of money,” Paul Brelo said. “I wouldn’t strap on a gun for $60,000 a year. I say God Bless the police, and I hope the charges on the other officers are dropped.”