Mayor Jackson, police chief update on deadly police pursuit

2:35 PM, Dec 3, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief McGrath addressed last week's police chase that left two people dead and 13 officers on administrative leave.

Jackson reiterated that the investigation is being handled by the East Cleveland police department and then told reporters of his five main concerns:

  • the supervision of the pursuit
  • the length of the pursuit
  • the number of police officers involved at the start 
  • the number of officers involved at the end of the pursuit
  • whether or not proper tactics were used.

Jackson said the East Cleveland police have brought the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office into the investigation and that this incident will take several months to investigate, at the very least.

McGrath said that East Cleveland police are in charge of the investigation and that all Cleveland can do right now is "look at our radio tapes and our policies and our procedures."

When asked if the media could get the audio tapes of the police communications during the 22-minute pursuit, the answer was that the tapes would likely be available from the East Cleveland police by Tuesday afternoon at the latest.

However, they were turned over to the media just before 5 p.m. Monday.

The 22-minute chase began on St. Clair Avenue last Thursday night after an occupant inside a vehicle was thought to have fired a shot at police.

In the end, police fired 137 rounds at the two suspects inside the vehicle, killing both of them.

Last Friday, East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts confirmed there was no gun or weapon found in the vehicle they had been pursuing No shell casings were found in the vehicle either.

Those shot and killed have been identified as Timothy Ray Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30.

Funeral arrangements for Russell have been announced. They will be  Saturday, with the viewing 9-11 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m. at the  Sanctuary of Praise on Hadden Road in Twinsburg.

The family tells Channel 3 that it is open to the public.

McGrath and Jackson confirmed that only 15-20 Cleveland police cruisers have dash-cams, out of about 1,000 cruisers.

Jackson said it was "budgetary concerns" when asked why all cruisers don't have dash-cams.

McGrath added that, within the next six weeks, Cleveland police would start "...piloting a program for cameras on the officers themselves." He did not say how many cameras would be used in the initial program

McGrath did respond to a question about the 13 officers involved that "...12 are Caucasian and one is Hispanic."

Cleveland police are not releasing the names of the officers, as they usually do 48 hours after an incident, because the investigation is being handled by East Cleveland.

McGrath said he expected that East Cleveland would release the names of the officers by Wednesday.

He said all 13 will be back on "restrictive duty" by the middle of this week.


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