Cleveland prepares for rioting as verdict for cop approaches

Riots have become so common in large American communities that one city is getting proactive.

As Cleveland prepares for a verdict in the deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, both killed in an officer-involved shooting in 2012, city officials are looking for ways to keep the peace with residents in the case of an acquittal.

Williams and Russell were shot and killed after a chase involving more than 100 officers and 60 police cars. They were fired at 137 times by 13 officers, but Michael Brelo, 31, was the only officer charged. The verdict is expected Monday, The Guardian reported.

Michael Brelo
Officer Michael Brelo.

In the wake of the Baltimore protests over another officer shooting, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the city is trying to use lessons learned there in preparing for Monday.

“We are working hard to ensure that the men and women of the Cleveland Division of Police expand on the trust with the community and mend relationships where there has been mistrust,” Jackson wrote in a letter posted on the Cleveland City Hall website after closing arguments wrapped up Friday. “In turn, it is my hope that all citizens will come to better understand and respect our police officers and work with them to make our city the best it can be.”

Malissa Williams Timothy Russell
Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

Russell’s sister, Michelle Russell, said she doubted Cleveland would go the way of Baltimore.

Chevy Malibu
Chevy Malibu Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were driving in.

“I don’t think the city of Cleveland has anything to be concerned about,” Russell said at a protest outside the courthouse, calling for peace, according to The Guardian. “If Cleveland was going to do that, they would have done it when it first happened, or they would have done it when police shot Tamir Rice. Cleveland is not that kind of community.”

Related:

Big-mouth Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby wants everyone else to shut up.

Carmine Sabia

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