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Text Messages Show Officers Who Shot 137 Rounds Into Car Knew Suspects Were Unarmed

Cleveland, Ohio – Officer Michael Brelo is preparing to stand trial for a November 29, 2012 shooting in which him and 12 other officers fired 137 shots at multiple unarmed victims.

Brelo stands accused of firing 46 shots, some while on the hood of the victims’ car. The shooting resulted in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, two unarmed victims who fled a traffic stop.

Brelo claims that he is innocent, but prosecutors are accusing him, his attorney and the police union of a massive coverup.

Brelo and one of the other officers involved in the murder that night, James Hummel, exchanged text messages just after leaving the scene of the crime. The officers openly discussed being aware that the victims were unarmed.

According to Cleveland.com:

In the hours following the shooting, Patrolman James Hummel sent texts in which he said “they all knew” neither of the victims had a gun – that the officers had mistaken a silver can of soda pop for a weapon, prosecutors said.

The texts said that what some of the officers had suspected were gunshots were actually backfires from the fleeing car, that Brelo “was going to be in trouble,” and that “everyone knew Brelo did something wrong,” prosecutors said.

Throughout the course of the investigation, the police union reportedly told the officers involved to deny any wrongdoing in the case and to remain silent in front of prosecutors.

“Hummel asked they not be present, didn’t feel comfortable talking in front of them,” Assistant County Prosecutor Sherri Royster said in court.

This week, the prosecution requested that defense attorney Pat D’Angelo be removed from the case because he was involved in the cover-up, and that would represent a conflict of interest.

Brelo’s trial is scheduled to start in April, where he will face charges of voluntary manslaughter. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 22 years in prison.

John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.

  • Xolodnyj

    They knew the couple was unarmed. They KNEW it. This guy stood on top of a car and emptied round after round, over a dozen of people he knew could not return fire. It was so shocking that even his other officers thought he went too far and was in trouble…

    What do you have to present to juries… well I guess that answer is nothing. There is nothing you can present to a jury… a teen can get followed by a cop wannabe and be murder AFTER he tried to escape. What did they say?? Oh yeah, the concrete he was running on was his weapon.
    And some don’t even get charged… a 12-year-old boy, doing what 12-year-olds do, play with a fake gun. A concerned citizen calls 911 and even passes that info on that he believes it may be a toy. Police pulls up and within 2 seconds… TWO.. shoots the boy, he dies with the toy pistol still in his waistband.
    In another part of the same city, a man, in a Wal-mart , shopping, he finds one of those same fake weapon and picks it up and continues to shop. He is on the phone, making a random call like people do at times. Police rush in and within seconds shoot him dead and why? A 911 call says this man was threatening people with this toy (not true)… and the officers didn’t even asset the situation. No warnings, no nothing.. bam bam and snuff out a man’s life in moments.

    And what is the excuse we here time and time again… comply. Officers have tough jobs. Split second decisions. They get heated at times they are only human. And, somewhere in the black person life, they did something…

    And these are the incidents that are caught on tape. There are 1000s of incidents that are filmed and none of those folks are ever believed.

    And the only thing that has been ever asked by us and the relatives of those people is we want police accountability. That is it. When they get it wrong, and they will at times. Where is the accountability?

    • theifam

      That’s just it. They are having their cases tried before judges and not juries. Judges are going to be much more receptive to law enforcement because they feel a greater need for their protection given the number of people they sentence to prison each year.