Ohio Attorney General Releases Animation of Police Shooting Involving 137 Shots Fired at Pursued Car

not a gameOhio Attorney GeneralThe police chase of Timothy Russell, driver, and Malissa Williams, passenger, began in East Cleveland when an unidentified cop said he heard the sound of a gun shot from Russell’s car. No shell casings or gun was ever recovered. Twenty-five minutes later, in Cleveland, the chase ended with 13 officers firing 137 shots (ranging from 2 shots fired by one cop to 49 by another) in about 20 seconds, killing Russell and Williams.

The State Attorney General’s office came in to conduct an investigation and Mike DeWine, the attorney general, released a report on the incident last week, and a few days later an animation (below) depicting the shooting. In concluding the investigation he handed it over to the county prosecutor, who is expected to go to a grand jury. The Cleveland police chief, of course, insists policies and procedures were in place, and if they were violated “some will be held accountable.”  DeWine’s response, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“This type of attitude, this head in the sand, refusal to look at the facts, could mean we could have this problem again, and next time we may have an innocent bystander who dies, or police officers who are killed, which could very well have happened this time,” DeWine said. “People in leadership need to take responsibility. The police department system failed these officers and they failed the general public. You can’t look at that report and come up with any other conclusion.” 

It’s not one or two officers who made a mistake, DeWine said, but dozens of officers, which “means you have a systemic problem.” 

…DeWine did not make any determination of whether the officers' actions were legal or justified.

The Cleveland City Council introduced a resolution yesterday supporting the police chief.

Animation of the shooting:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    That animation sucks. Not even any wacky chase music

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Here.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Ugh. The Dixie Square Mall chase music would be better.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It’s not one or two officers who made a mistake, DeWine said, but dozens of officers, which “means you have a systemic problem.”

    That same tune could be sung throughout the nation.

    Did you see all those blue triangles shooting lasers in the direction of other blue triangles? Idiots probe to panic fire shouldn't be given badges much less shielded by them.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Prone. (I've had a cold.)

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Did nobody tell these cops that shooting at a target directly opposite OTHER cops that are shooting at the target is a dumb idea? I'm mostly shocked they didn't end up shooting each other with that many rounds being fired and very few actually hitting.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I can't believe what I just saw!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMl3_cz05Jo

  • tarran||

    Did nobody tell these cops that shooting at a target directly opposite OTHER cops that are shooting at the target is a dumb idea?

    Guess they never heard the question: What color is the boathouse at Hereford?!?

  • William Occam||

    Its interesting to note that in 2011 the ENTIRE German Police force used 85 bullets in total and 49 of those were warning shots....

    http://bluecravat.blogspot.com.....o-usa.html

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    [Union Attorney Pat] D'Angelo further addressed DeWine's assertions of system failure, including reports that officers didn't have access to tire-deflating spikes, helicopter support, a working communications system or dashboard video. He said the city made decisions not to provide those resources, despite having the money to do so.

    Lack of toys lead to police killing these two people and almost each other. Toys are a wonderful substitute for training and judgment.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    The driver's actions led to the police shooting them. The police's incompetence led them to almost shoot each other.

  • Generic Stranger||

    I don't see anything in that video that justified shooting at them.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    They were refusing to surrender and revving the engine at the cops in front of them. When you threaten to run down a cop, don't be surprised when they open fire at you. I've seen, and been critical, of many bad shoots. This one, I don't see as being a bad shoot.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The problem with this is that the Warrior Cop mentality is so widespread that it is becoming reasonable to be afraid to surrender to cops if you are innocent. Get the cowboys and psychos off the various police forces that have constant high-profile problems (I'm looking at YOU Philadelphia and Los Angeles) and the we can talk about "the innocent have nothing to fear".

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I agree that the Warrior Cop mentality is a problem. However, guilty or not, running from the cops only makes matters worse. If you're being chased by a corrupt asshole, how is running away going to improve your situation? It's a horrible situation to be put in, but there are far better options than running from the cops, driving aggressively, and threatening to run the cops down (while you're currently surrounded by cops with guns drawn)

  • ||

    It doesn't improve the situation, but it sure as shit doesn't make it a "clean shoot" either.

    Especially (if the video is to be believed), when the driver was actively avoiding trying to hit any of the cops cars.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    You mean avoiding hitting the cop cars while he was fleeing? Cars don't tend to drive very well after an accident, greatly reducing the chances of escaping.

    Or maybe you watched a different video where the driver didn't accelerate towards parked police cruisers with armed officers at the ready.

    Regardless of whether the guy had a gun or not, at that point, he was wielding a 3000lb kinetic weapon at the officers. I would have shot the bastard too.

  • mr simple||

    You mean the animation above? You do realize that's not an actual video of the events, right tuff guy?

    To be fair I haven't found an explanation of why they were chasing them, so I don't know the totality of the situation. But no, murdering people who just don't want to get shot is not a good shoot.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Yeah, the same video that DesigNate used to say the suspect was actively avoiding the cops. That one.

    They were chasing him because he refused to pull over for a traffic stop.

    Tuff guy? Me? Why, because I said I would have shot the bastard? Statement of fact that I would shoot someone that was threatening my life. Kind of the point of carrying a firearm, isn't it?

    All I've said is that I believe it was a justified shoot. No need to attack me for my perspective.

  • marshaul||

    Wearing short skirts around rapists may "make matters worse", but it's still the damn rapists fault when they commit rape.

  • entropy||

    So you don't think it's bothersome that they were firing at each other over the car? That's a "good shoot"? And if they had shot each other?

  • sarcasmic||

    And if they had shot each other?

    That's a "better shoot" if you ask me.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Did you bother to read my other comments? Few lines up I criticize the idiots for shooting at each other. I consider the killing of the suspects a "good shoot", not the cops being a good shot.

    Here, I'll post it again in case you missed it.

    itsnotmeitsyou| 2.12.13 @ 9:49AM

    Did nobody tell these cops that shooting at a target directly opposite OTHER cops that are shooting at the target is a dumb idea? I'm mostly shocked they didn't end up shooting each other with that many rounds being fired and very few actually hitting.
  • Meerkatx||

    The passenger was revving the engine and threatening the cops?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    No, the passenger was mostly innocent.

    The driver's actions led to the police shooting them. The police's incompetence led them to almost shoot each other.

    I swear to god, people. Read the whole thread before making asinine assumptions.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    good shoot imo they shulnt have fled
    if my brother occifers ran over a schoolchild it wouldve been the criminalss fault

    hth

  • marie||

    ...next time we may have an innocent bystander who dies...

    There will be a NEXT time?

  • Virginian||

    49 Rounds? That's insane.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Motherfucker had to reload at least twice to fire that many.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I've heard the S&W MP9 are considered cheap, Saturday night specials and have been known to fire without a trigger pull, emptying an entire magazine, reloading, emptying another magazine, reloading, and emptying most of that magazine before they stop malfunctioning.

  • entropy||

    I like how the guy who only fired 1 shot turns out to be the guy who fired the LAST shot, probably long after they were dead.

    I feel like I would expect that from a 5 year old police officer. That he would try to be part of the group and run in 5 seconds after it ended to fire his gun too, just like the big boys. Didn't want to be the only one to miss out.

  • sarcasmic||

    Kinda like when the last one runs up after his buddies have finished beating up the perp and putting him into handcuffs, and gives him a gratuitous kick or two to the face. Can't pass on an opportunity to do violence to the helpless.

  • Cyto||

    Reminds me of the Guereno video. There's one guy in the back who can't get a clear shot through the front door, so he kinda tippie-toes behind the others and fires blindly over their heads. If I had been one of his compatriots I would've beaten the crap out of him after seeing that video.

  • db||

    Isn't that like, "everyone fires a shot into the body so no-one can plead innnocence?"

  • The Late P Brooks||

    (ranging from 2 shots fired by one cop to 49 by another)

    The term "firing wildly" comes to mind. Three magazines, and he probably would have sprayed out another, if he had had it. These are your trained professionals.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I hope the cop that fired 49 shots argues that he accidentally emptied his magazine, reloaded, emptied that magazine, reloaded again, and emptied most of that magazine by accident - the gun just went off and every time he reloaded, it kept going off all by itself...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Question for you vets out there: what happens in a "friendly fire" incident?

    I'm guessing it involves more than shoulder-shrugging.

  • tarran||

    In general, it's career ending...

  • RickC||

    I think it would depend on circumstances but I'm pretty sure you can't do a fair comparison with friendly fire incidents amongst cops.

    In thinking strickly of infantry-type fighting friendly-fire might actually count for way more casualties than the Pentagon acknowledges. I don't know how many times in training missions (I was a Recon scout for a couple of years) I would stop in the middle of a movement to contact or some other attack, look around and think, "If we weren't firing blanks I'd be dead from my own guys' fire."

    Just picture a pitch black night, unfamiliar territory, small explosions from hand grenades blinding the shit out of you or rendering night vision goggles useless, fire coming from everywhere all on top of a pucker factor of a million and you have some idea. Pure chaos once the shit hits the fan. No way you could hold someone responsible for an errant shot. As much as I dislike the asshole, I thought Oliver Stone did a good job of depicting what night fighting is like in Platoon.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Vicious ineptness in policing is a problem 60 years in the making and it all started with unionization.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    No. Unionization certainly has added to the problem, but it STARTED with the "War on Drug" idiocy. DEA stats (quoted in Almanacs) routinely claim that there are 16-17 million "regular" users of illegal drugs in the U.S. (regular users being people who use once a month at least), of which 10-11 million are fundamentally pot smokers. That leaves about 6 million users of 'hard' drugs, out of a population of 313 million. At 1.9 %, that isn't an 'epidemic', it's a statistical hiccup. For which we have basically jettisoned our protections against unreasonable search and seizure and allowed our Cops to play out their Eliot Ness fantasies.

    It. Just. Ain't. Worth. It.

  • entropy||

    "... this head in the sand, refusal to look at the facts ... next time we may have an innocent bystander who dies ... could very well have happened this time .. People in leadership need to take responsibility ... system failed these officers and they failed the general public ... It’s not one or two officers ... you have a systemic problem.”

    I'm impressed. This is a proper reaction, and may lead to things that need to be addressed being addressed. People do make mistakes, the important thing (that police usually overlook) is owning up to it, and making changes where neccessary, not just sticking your 'head in the sand' and whitewashing it so it can happen again next time.

  • LarryA||

    That quote is from the state attorney general, who is not in a position to make any policy changes, about the people who are.

    [The Cleveland police chief, of course, insists policies and procedures were in place, and if they were violated “some will be held accountable.”]
    [The Cleveland City Council introduced a resolution yesterday supporting the police chief.]

    Business as usual.

  • R C Dean||

    next time we may have an innocent bystander who dies,

    waddayamean, "next time"? By my count, we have two dead, at least one of whom (the passenger) is an innocent bystander. And possibly both, since its pretty apparent that there was no shot fired from the car.

    As for the claim that the driver revved his engine, etc., even if that was true (and do we have anybody's word for it but cops with an incentive to cover their asses?), he was being chased by a bunch of cops, and I'm not sure when they started shooting. Under the circumstances, can you blame him for trying to get away from them?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Obviously, it was a good shoot. Why would they shoot them criminals if they didn't have it coming?"

  • WTF||

    As for the claim that the driver revved his engine, etc., even if that was true (and do we have anybody's word for it but cops with an incentive to cover their asses?), he was being chased by a bunch of cops, and I'm not sure when they started shooting.

    This is a great point, without any dashboard camera footage, we only have the cops word for it that they weren't just executed for daring to lead them on a chase.

  • ||

    So when was the first shot fired? This all started when a police officer claimed to hear a gunshot from the area of the car.

    What if someone shot at Russell's car and he drove away from danger, only to be hunted down by the cops and executed...for being the victim of an attack?

    I know that if bullets start hitting my car, I will floor the gas pedal and try to get away. When did police fire their first shots? When the chase stopped, or during the chase?

    If the latter, I know I'd keep running in hopes of getting away from the maniacs impersonating police that were trying to murder me.

  • Cyto||

    Very similar to the Miami Beach shooting of a couple of years back. The initial story was that a gang-banger was firing at people out of a car. Turns out that police firing wildly at the car were the ones who shot all of the innocent bystanders.

    We've never had an accounting of what really happened, and probably never will, but after watching the video of the police volley after he puts the car in park I'm absolutely certain that they straight-up murdered the guy. You don't put the car in park and stop while surrounded by drawn weapons and then pull out a gun - if you were going to fight your way out you'd keep on driving. (they later claimed to recover a gun from behind the driver's seat - a whole day later)

  • Seamus||

    Perhaps it would not have prevented this tragedy, but if laws were passed outlawing sale or possession by police of magazines holding more than seven rounds (as in the common-sense gun control law passed in New York the other day), then encounters of this sort would be less deadly. If it saves just one life, it's worth it.

  • ||

    The advertisement that played before the animation was hilarious. Talked about a drug that killed people, and that anyone who had been killed by it should call them...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement