Cleveland fires six police officers over deadly 2012 chase

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2016 2:40 PM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Six Cleveland police officers were fired over their involvement in a November 2012 chase that led to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man and woman, city officials said on Tuesday.

Six other officers in the incident, which involved a 137-shot barrage, were suspended for 21 to 30 days and another retired last year, officials said.

"The incident was unprecedented," Cleveland Police Commander James Chura told reporters of the shooting, which killed Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. "It took an investigation just as unprecedented to get to the truth."

The decision to fire the officers comes as U.S. law enforcement is under scrutiny for the use of lethal force against minority groups. It followed a series of high-profile deaths of unarmed black men in confrontations with police, which have prompted sometimes violent demonstrations.

The Cleveland chase lasted more than 20 minutes and went through multiple cities at speeds topping 90 mph (145 kph), ending in a school parking lot where Russell was shot 24 times and Williams 23 times.

The U.S. Justice Department found in 2014 that the Cleveland police engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force.

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Matthew Lewis)