An acquitted cop was arrested and charged with assaulting his own brother. Four days earlier, Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The 31-year-old man was one of 13 officers who fired more than 100 shots into the unarmed couple’s vehicle.
As reported by CNN, Michael and his twin brother, Mark, were intoxicated when they got into a physical altercation. Authorities with the Bay Village, Ohio, police department said the brawl occurred at approximately 4:00 a.m. on May 27.
According to reports, Mark went to a neighbor’s home to ask for help. Following an investigation into the incident, authorities determined “both brothers had been drinking… and had gotten into a physical fight.” As the brothers each had “observable injuries,” they were both arrested and charged with assault.
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Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel said the acquitted cop’s arrest was “appropriate and warranted.” He further stated the arrest “was made independent of” Michael’s prior criminal case.
Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo first made headlines in 2012. On November 29, 2012, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were observed driving through a portion of Lakeside Avenue — which is notorious for drug interactions.
An undercover officer ran the couple’s license plate number, as their behavior appeared suspicious. Although the plates were clean, the officer decided to pursue the vehicle, as he reportedly observed Russell making a turn signal violation.
Cleveland.com reports Russell managed to outrun the officer. However, his vehicle evidently backfired as he drove past the Justice Center. Assuming the noises were gunfire, two officers reported shots were fired from Timothy Russell’s vehicle.
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The subsequent pursuit of Timothy Russell involved more than 60 officers from the Cleveland police department, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The high-speed chase went on for 22 miles before Russell stopped in the Heritage Middle School parking lot.
Although the specific details are a point of heated controversy, a total of 13 officers fired 137 shots at the occupied vehicle. An autopsy later revealed Timothy Russell was was shot 23 times. His passenger, Malissa Williams, was shot 24 times.
The shooting drew stark criticism, as authorities later determined neither Russell nor Williams were armed. Witnesses at the scene also confirmed the couple remained inside their vehicle at all times.
Although 13 officers were involved in the controversial shooting, Michael Brelo was the only officer criminally charged. According to reports, Brelo continued shooting “after other officers perceived any threat was over.” Brelo’s behavior at the scene was also called into question, as he reportedly stood on the hood of Russell’s vehicle and “shot directly down at the victims.”
Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty on May 23. However, the acquitted cop was arrested four days later for assaulting his own brother. Authorities confirmed Brelo was released on his own recognizance. His first hearing is scheduled for next week.
[Image via Ricky Rhodes / Getty Images]