CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cuyahoga County prosecutors continued to present witnesses Monday morning in the sixth day of Cleveland Patrol Officer Michael Brelo ‘s criminal trial.
Brelo is facing two counts of manslaughter for his actions in the Nov. 29, 2012 deadly chase and shooting that claimed the lives of two unarmed suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.
Prosecutors are trying to convince the judge that Brelo’s actions were not reasonable the night of the shooting. They allege he fired 49 shots, some from the top of a police cruiser and some from the top of the suspect’s car.
Friday, Judge John O’Donnell viewed the bullet-riddled cars from the chase and also went to the scene of the shooting in East Cleveland.
The chase started in downtown Cleveland after an officer thought someone in the suspect’s car fired at him. It ended 22 minutes later in a parking lot in East Cleveland.
Defense attorneys have said throughout the trial that Brelo was not “acting like Rambo” but instead was trying to protect himself and others. They say Brelo felt the suspects were trying to kill them.
On Monday, prosecutors called five police supervisors, who are codefendants in this case on lesser charges. The five, represented by attorneys, pleaded the Fifth Amendment before ever making it to the stand.
Det. Roland Mitchell testified on Monday. He was working in the second district the night of the shooting and was involved in the chase. He said he was in an unmarked car with his partner and made two attempts to stop Russell’s car, but failed.
Mitchell said he spoke to Officer Brelo, who told him there were two rounds left in his service weapon.
Cleveland Police Sgt. George Peters testified that officers in the third district were called off the chase and all but four obeyed the order. His officers also blocked off the streets around the Cuyahoga County Justice center to search for a possible weapon or other evidence, but nothing was found.
Testimony from Curtiss Jones of the trace evidence unit at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office took up most of the afternoon. Assistant prosecuting attorney Sherrie Royster presented Jones with clothing he removed from Williams after the shooting. The clothes were marked with yellow tabs, indicating bullet holes.
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