Officers in deadly chase plead not guilty to criminal charges

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CLEVELAND -- Six officers involved in the double fatal police shooting that happened in November 2012 were formally charged Friday.

Officer Michael Brelo, who faced two manslaughter charges, said he had no comment as he walked into the courtroom.

His attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.  Bond was set at $10,000 and he is due back in court on June 20.

Brelo's attorney Pat D'Angelo said his client is not guilty and will prove it during his trial.

Police union president Jeff Folmer said Brelo is very upset about the charges and on the night of the shooting did what he thought was right.

(Police officers show support at the arraignment for their fellow officers facing criminal charges in a deadly police chase and shooting.)
(Police officers show support at the arraignment for their fellow officers facing criminal charges in a deadly police chase and shooting.)

Randolph Daley, Michael Donegan, Patricia Coleman, Jason Edens and Paul Wilson each pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor dereliction of duty.  Bond was set at $1,000.

Retired Police Officer Jim Simone  said hundreds of officers came to the Justice Center to show support for the indicted officers.

But Prosecutor Tim McGinty was not pleased with the show of support.

"It was disappointing to see the police union attempt to pack and intimidate the courtroom with uniformed police officers -- especially since this is obviously planned action is another violation of police department policy," McGinty said. "Officers decided to ignore their department's rules on November 29, 2012. The result was a protracted high-speed chase that put the public and officers in danger, the death of two unarmed people -- one a totally innocent passenger -- and a circular firing squad that nearly killed several of their own. "

But Follmer fired back, saying McGinty is wrong.

"I don't know what policy Prosecutor McGinty is talking about, he talks and sometimes it is not supported," Follmer said. " Yes, the officers were there but who is he intimidated by? He works with police officers everyday."

Meanwhile, the NAACP released a statement saying they will be monitoring all hearings on these cases and believe it is important that all citizens not have to live in fear of "those sworn to protect and serve."

The chase started November 29, 2012 when an officer at the Justice Center thought someone fired a shot at him.

It ended in East Cleveland when 13 officers fired 137 shots killing the two unarmed suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

Click for continuing coverage.

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