What Really Happened? Shooting Re-enactment May be Helpful

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Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland near Terrace and Lee Roads was blocked this morning for a large scale law enforcement re-creation..

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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio–A three-block radius around

Cuyahoga County prosecutors are organizing it.

The deadly police-officer involved shooting that happened at the location on Nov. 29, 2012 will be re-enacted in an attempt to see if criminal charges should be filed against some of the officers.

On that deadly night, dozens of Cleveland police officers were involved in a high speed chase that started in downtown Cleveland and ended at the school in East Cleveland.

Both Malissa Williams, 30 and Timothy Russell 43, died after 13 officers fired 137 gunshots into the vehicle.

The families have filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit, but Malissa’s mother, Martha Williams said, “I want them brought up on murder. That’s all I got to say.”

Police have said their actions were justified.

Officers thought the couple had fired shots at police and then fled.

In statements, they said the couple drove the car at officers, using it as a weapon.

“Usually people fleeing from us, it’s because of drugs, guns in the car because they committed crimes murder warrants, rape warrants,” said Jeff Follmer, CPPA president.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigation and released a computer version of events, but with a grand jury weighing the evidence, prosecutors want their own re-enactment.

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law professor, Jonathan Witmer-Rich, is not associated with the case, but said re-enactments can be helpful.

“It might be the case it will be helpful for the grand jury to see things as they happened in real time,” said Attorney Whitmer-Rich.

He said re-enactments do shed light on how events might have transpired and even escalated.

“How would a reasonable officer react in these circumstances?” said Whitmer-Rich, “Seeing it happen in real time might really give the grand jury a better sense of to draw conclusions of how a reasonable officer would’ve behaved.”

Continuing coverage on this story can be found here.

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