A day after the shocking acquittal of Ohio police officer Michael Brelo, who avoided 22 years in jail for the killing of an unarmed black couple, more than 70 protest-related arrests were made.
According to reports, there were at least 71 arrests this past holiday weekend in Cleveland.
City officials said police tried to give peaceful protesters the space to exercise their First Amendment rights, but some of them crossed the line several times, resulting in 71 arrests. Demonstrations were peaceful earlier in the day Saturday, but they grew more aggressive in the afternoon and evening when most of the arrests occurred, Police Chief Calvin Williams said in a news conference on Sunday. His officers were tolerant of protesters who expressed their anger and frustration in a constructive manner, he said. (CNN)
Officer Brelo had his verdict read to him Saturday (May 23).
A white Cleveland police officer who stood on the hood of a car and shot the vehicle’s two unarmed black occupants in Cleveland in 2012 was found not guilty Saturday morning of voluntary manslaughter. Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O’Donnell, who reached the verdicts after a several-week bench trial, also ruled that Officer Michael Brelo was not guilty of two lesser-included counts of felonious assault. (CNN)
The now-infamous shooting took place in late November 2012.
On Nov. 29, 2012, Cleveland Police Officer Vasile Nan thought he heard a gunshot while he was outside of his cruiser on St. Clair Avenue near the Cuyahoga County Justice Center, and pursued a blue car. The resulting police chase lasted 22 minutes, and involved more than 60 police cars and more than a hundred officers. It stretched through downtown Cleveland, into the Tremont neighborhood and at high speeds on Interstate 90 before ending at Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland. (Fox 8)
Despite being a part of more than 100 cops involved in the chase, Brelo stood out for firing the deadly shots.
Prosecutors argued throughout Brelo’s month-long trial that when other officers stopped firing, Brelo jumped onto the Malibu’s hood and shot straight down at Russell and Williams. Those actions, they argued, were unreasonable and went well past his duties as a police officer. But defense attorneys said Brelo had reason to fear for his life, and was justified in his use of deadly force because he and other officers believed that Russell and Williams had a gun and had fired shots. (Cleveland)