The American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asking for a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into a Nov. 29 police chase and shooting that left two people dead.
The chase ended with 13 officers firing 137 bullets at the car carrying driver Timothy Russell, 43, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, 30.
In addition to the request for a special prosecutor, the ACLU is asking DeWine to remove the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office and East Cleveland Police from the joint investigation because officers from those agencies were involved in the chase that preceded the shooting.
"This is not an indictment of the people or agencies currently assigned to the investigation. However, putting local law enforcement in charge of investigating themselves is clearly not the best way to conduct an impartial, independent inquiry," said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman. "Nor is it a good idea to ask a prosecutor that works with these local agencies everyday to review the results of this investigation."
The ACLU says appointing the special prosecutor and removing agencies involved in the incident gives the investigation the "weight it deserves."
"This most recent shooting is only the latest in a long line of incidents in Cuyahoga County that have tested people's faith in their public servants," said Hardiman. "In this climate, it is crucial that any investigation into the conduct of the Cleveland Police Department avoid even the appearance of impropriety."