Police Abuse

Cleveland Settles For $3 Million in Fatal Car Chase That Ended With 13 Cops Firing 137 Shots, Killing Two

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Timothy Russell and Marissa Williams
Cleveland PD

Without any major filings or motions from either side, the city of Cleveland settled a wrongful death suit with the families of Timothy Russell and Marissa Williams for $3 million. Russell and Williams were killed by police at the end of a car chase that most likely started when a cop mistook the backfire of a car for a gunshot.

Of the 13 officers involved in the fatal shooting, only one was indicted, for involuntary manslaughter. Five other cops were charged with dereliction of duty for allowing the chase to escalate. They've all pled not guilty.

The Plain Dealer compares the settlement to some previous ones Cleveland's made:

In 2003, the city paid $1.9 million in the case of an 8-year-old boy who was struck by a stray bullet from a detective's gun. The officer had been scuffling with a suspect when the gun fired, and a bullet pierced the child's internal organs. The boy recovered and later returned to school.

In 2008, Cleveland paid $1 million to the family of 16-year-old Ricardo Mason, who was killed by police after a car chase in 2002. Police claimed the driver tried to pin the officers with his car after patrolmen approached it, prompting officers to fire at the car.

In 2012, Cleveland paid $900,000 to former state prison guard Martin Robinson, whose violent confrontation with a group of vice officers nearly ended with Robinson and officers shooting at each other outside a prison fence. Robinson claimed officers attacked him and falsely arrested him. He claims the attack has left him unable to work.

A probate judge has to approve the settlement as "fair" before it's finalized.

An attorney for Michael Brelo, the officer who fired 49 shots, 15 from the hood of Russell's car, said the settlement didn't affect his client's case, insisting the victim's families "bootstrapped themselves on the investigation and have used it for their case."

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  1. Jesus, I remember this. I was still living in the Cleveland area when this happened. Had just been downtown for the March of Dimes walk and then this happened.

    $3M for two state-sanctioned murder/death/kills…holy fuck, what a waste this whole episode was.

    1. Especially considering they could have just contracted these killings out for 1/100th of that amount.

  2. I just want to say, Cleveland, that I’m disappointed that Johnny Manziel hasn’t been arrested with fifty hookers and 20% of the world’s supply of cocaine yet. If he were playing in, say, Los Angeles, this would’ve happened already.

    1. The coke mysteriously disappears in transit.

  3. But…did our Brave Public Heroes make it home safely after patrolling their sector of the homefront?

    They did? Whew. I was worried there for a second.

  4. An attorney for Michael Brelo, the officer who fired 49 shots, 15 from the hood of Russell’s car

    did he jump onto the hood of the car and continued firing into the windshield?

  5. Involuntary manslaughter, you say? Is that where the gun mind-controls you onto the hood of a car so it is better able to work its demonic will?

  6. At some point I think these places are no longer going to be able to afford insurance against these settlements.

    1. Wait they have insurance policies that pay these off? I assumed that they just bilked some general slush fund.

  7. How the fuck is this “involuntary manslaughter”? Generally, the definition goes like this:

    Involuntary manslaughter usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as DUI). The usual distinction from voluntary manslaughter is that involuntary manslaughter (sometimes called “criminally negligent homicide”) is a crime in which the victim’s death is unintended.

    How the hell is emptying your weapon at somebody “unintentional” killing? How is the death of somebody you aimed your weapon at “unintended”?

    1. Saw it mentioned the other day in response to the cop being indicted on second degree murder charges for breaking into somebody’s house and shooting them in the back. Cops are charged two or so levels below what a prole would be charged with for the same action. Manslaughter becomes assault, murder becomes manslaughter.

  8. How the hell is emptying your weapon at somebody “unintentional” killing? How is the death of somebody you aimed your weapon at “unintended”?

    Yes. See, also: police “accidentally” shot the hostage 17 times as he was trying to escape.

  9. $3 million is a ludicrously small amount of blood money for such a blatant murderfuckup. Jesus Christ. The families should have held out for at least 10x that.

  10. I’m sure that cops won’t abuse their pants-shitting at the sight of charging kittens legal executioner power at all, since there is little chance of anything happening to them as a result.

    Nope, not one teensy, eensy bit.

  11. my roomate’s mother-in-law makes $66 /hr on the computer . She has been without work for 8 months but last month her paycheck was $21762 just working on the computer for a few hours. take a look at the site here….

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

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