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Group wants dismissal from duty for ‘all thirteen’ 137 shot cops

Kevin Chill Heard | 8/6/2014, 11:44 a.m.
A placard passed amongst the committee was signed with quotes stating, “Brelo was not the only shooter.” “Why did they ...

Although they met last Thursday under the sanctity of religious walls, the Committee for Social Justice convened at East Cleveland’s Empowerment Church not to sing songs of prayer, but to make demands of the political power structure. The house comprised of an outraged collective of residents, and an even larger irate assemblage of community activists, made it clear that they were in no way willing to let what happened to Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on Nov. 29, 2012, fade quietly into the night.

Stating that “Shuckin’ and jiving time is over,” the group, called to action by East Cleveland councilmen Nathaniel Martin and community activist Don Freeman, released a statement saying, “We, the Committee for Social Justice, demand that Mayor Frank Jackson fire all 13 Cleveland police officers who participated in the brutal killings of Malissa Williams & Timothy Russell. Only the 162 gunshots that killed the notorious, armed Bonnie and Clyde, surpasses the 137 gunshots that killed the unarmed Malissa Williams & Timothy Russell. We perceive this as murder. Therefore, we emphatically demand that Mayor Frank Jackson fire the 13 Cleveland police officers responsible for this atrocity.”

What was not lost on this group of “vanguards” was the fact that what began as an ill-fated police chase through the streets of Cleveland, ended tragically at the Heritage School on East Cleveland soil, and so it was fitting that it would be in East Cleveland that they would come together as “Frontline demand makers.”

Thousands of small folded pieces of paper enclosing prayer requests were faithfully scattered along steps leading to the church pulpit. The comfortable confines of the church awash in the light shining through stain glass, stood in stark contrast of the anger, though respectfully tempered, of those gathered to take action against a “Cleveland atrocity.”

The facts concerning the outcome were held for discussion: Thirteen patrolmen fired 137 gunshots at the melee that took place at the Heritage Middle School parking lot. One supervisor was fired, two others were demoted and nine others were disciplined for violation of various protocols. Approximately 75 patrolmen were disciplined by the CPD. The firing of former Sgt. Michael Donegan was overturned in arbitration. He returned to duty, regaining his rank as sergeant in July of 2015. Two supervisors previously demoted were restored to their rank last month. A year and a half after the incident County Prosecutor Tim McGinty indicted patrolman Michael Brelo, who stood on the hood of the victims’ car, and fired 49 shots. None of the other 12 patrolmen who fired a total of 88 shots were indicted.

The Committee for Social Justice announced that they are primed to call on Mayor Jackson, Saftey Director Michael McGrath and new Police Chief Calvin Williams to fire “all 13 of the patrolmen” and should have this completed by the end of the required administrative review.

A placard passed amongst the committee was signed with quotes stating, “Brelo was not the only shooter.” “Why did they not stop the car?” “Brelo should not be the only scapegoat for the 12 other shooters.

Some of the groups on hand included the Oppressed People’s Nation (OPN), Black on Black Crime and members of the New Black Panther Party.

“The Oppressed People’s Nation and all other community organizations call for all 13 officers to be fired,” said Ernest L. Smith, founder of OPN, “they should be brought up on charges, not just Brelo. All thirteen of them fired on two unarmed Americans, regardless of their color, if they were Black, White, blue or green, it’s not right. These police are supposed to protect and serve the community, but all they are doing is patrol and control. This must stop. Frank Jackson must fire all thirteen officers. I could walk outside right now and get murdered by the very same people who are supposed to be protecting me. We will not stop until all thirteen officers are fired.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, the group set its calendar to meet later this month for the next plan of action.