CLEVELAND-- Rev. Dr. Jawanza Colvin, pastor of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, says he decided to send a written request to the Department of Justice seeking a review of not only last month's deadly police chase but also of the department's patterns and practices.
Pastor Colvin says he wants federal agents to look at last month's chase that started at the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland and ended in East Cleveland. Two suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams died after 13 officers fired 137 shots at their car.
"A community always wants to be able to believe there is good policing, and I think when there is a sense of mistrust between the community and law enforcement, it is always good to have a third party to come in and give oversight," Colvin said.
Cleveland police officers began chasing the vehicle because they say someone in the car fired a shot at them. No gun or shell casings were found in the car.
Police union officials believe the officers' actions were justified.
But, Colvin says there are growing concerns regarding alleged excessive use of force by city police.
At least one city councilman agrees with the pastor. Councilman Zack Reed says he would also like investigators to keep the public informed throughout the investigation.
Reed is urging officials to release the results of gun residue tests on the suspects as soon as possible.
"Did those people who are involved in the chase have gun residue on their hands or not?" Reed asked. "Did they shoot at our police officers or did they not? What is the difference in releasing now, six months from now, or 12 months from now?"
BCI officials say they will not be releasing specific details about the case until it is completed.
The city police chief and other elected and community officials have also asked the Department of Justice to look at the matter.
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