CLEVELAND (AP) — Six former Cleveland police officers are trying to get their jobs back after being fired following a high-speed chase and deadly shooting that led to changes at the department.
The November 2012 chase began when officers mistook the sound of a vehicle backfiring near the downtown Justice Center for a gunshot. It ended in a 137-shot barrage that killed two unarmed black people in East Cleveland.
The shooting lasted 19.3 seconds, with a majority of the shots — approximately 120 — fired within a span of just over 10 seconds, Cleveland.com (http://bit.ly/2edAQvY) reported.
At the end, 43-year-old Timothy Russell and 30-year-old Malissa Williams were left dead inside a middle school parking lot.
Thirteen officers fired shots. Six officers were fired in January. A seventh officer retired before facing discipline.
The police union president vowed to fight the discipline and has described the firings as unprecedented and politically motivated.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association filed grievances on behalf of the officers on the day they were terminated.
The arbitration process includes patrolman Michael Brelo, the only officer charged with a felony in the case. A Cuyahoga County judge acquitted him of voluntary manslaughter charges for firing the last 15 shots in May 2015.
In total, the city disciplined a dozen supervisors and 74 officers involved in the case.
The supervisors who were fired have had their jobs reinstated by an arbiter. Five of them still face misdemeanor charges in connection with the case.
The incident prompted Mayor Frank Jackson to request a U.S. Department of Justice review of the police department’s use of force.
Police officials implemented new training techniques and an updated pursuit policy after federal investigators found that Cleveland officers too often use excessive force and fail to de-escalate situations.
Information from: cleveland.com, http://www.cleveland.com