Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) is criticizing a judge’s decision to acquit a Cleveland police officer in a 2012 police shooting case involving an unarmed black couple, calling officers’ actions “extreme, excessive, and unnecessary.”
“The decision of Judge John P. O’Donnell to acquit Officer Michael Brelo is a stunning setback on the road to justice for Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams and the people of Cleveland,” Fudge said in a statement. “The verdict is another chilling reminder of a broken relationship between the Cleveland Police Department and the community it serves. Today we have been told – yet again – our lives have no value.”
Officer Michael Brelo, 31, was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter and other lesser charges on Saturday in the deaths of Russell and Williams. Brelo was among the officers who fired at Russell and Williams’ car during a chase and later climbed onto the hood of the car and fired at its occupants after the chase ended.
The Department of Justice has announced that it will review the testimony and evidence from Brelo’s trial to determine “what, if any, additional steps are available.”
The Brelo verdict sparked protests that stretched into Saturday night. Several arrests were reported by local media outlets.