Reverend Al Sharpton speaks in Cleveland on police reform

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CLEVELAND - Nearly one week after Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty on two counts of  voluntary manslaughter in the November 2012 shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams., Rev. Al Sharpton spoke before hundreds at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, praising local demonstrators for their restraint but promising this is just the begining.

"Anybody that engages in violence is hurting the cause of these families," said Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network.

Sharpton said he has always advocated peace and non violence but he said there has already been violence on behalf of the police officers who fired 137 shots into Russell and Williams car and who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

He criticized the judgement in the Brelo case by questioning why a police officer who was afraid for his life would run towards the people he thought were shooting at him and jump on the car.

"A lot of people want peace," said Sharpton, adding "we are going to be peaceful but we are not going to be quiet."

"There is a difference between peace and quiet," said Sharpton.

Sharpton said as Cleveland hosts presidential debates and the Republican National Convention in 2016 the city will put policing on the agenda for the presidential debates.

Sharpton said that in the aftermath of the Brelo verdict the city of Cleveland did not want outsiders causing trouble.

But he said the city is welcoming outsiders to come and cheer for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He promised that the National Action Network will be active in Cleveland supporting the families of Rice, Williams and Russell.

"Families can't fight institutions," said Sharpton, concluding "You need institutions to fight institutions."

"If it takes every breath in my body, they will not stand alone," said Sharpton.

"You think this is going to be a one week story, no, (that) this story is going nowhere, we come to turn the light on and we are going to keep the light on," said Sharpton.

Read more on officer Brelo HERE**

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