Cleveland Police Department Suspends 63 Officers Involved In Chase

The Cleveland Police Department will suspend 63 officers involved in a deadly November chase.

Last November in Cleveland, Ohio, a high speed chase had left two unarmed suspects dead in a hail of gunfire. The officers involved in the chase had violated orders when they joined a pursuit that would put the O.J. Simpson car chase to shame. The violations had included insubordination and driving too fast.

The officers being suspended were not involved in the shootout where 13 Cleveland Police officers had fired 137 rounds at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in the vicinity of an East Cleveland middle school on November 29, 2012.

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said that more than 170 days of suspension will be distributed among the officers involved, more as an example to follow orders than for anything serious. If police ignore following orders enough to engage in a car chase of that magnitude, a line must be drawn.

The Cleveland Police Department suspensions were the result of disciplinary hearings involving the Mayor after the mass disobedience in the chase.

Michael McGrath stated that under stressful situations such as the one in November, it is very important to follow orders. The suspension is actually the second of three stages of disciplinary action. The first resulted in a police supervisor being fired and two others being demoted.

Mayor Frank Jackson stated about the suspensions, “We have afforded everyone due process. There have been extensive hearings conducted by both [McGrath] and his people and [Safety Director Martin Flask].”

The actual chase had begun in downtown Cleveland, but it escalated quickly when shots were heard near the Justice Center as Timothy Russell‘s car drove past. The suspect had tried to ditch the pursuing officers during a chase that lasted most of a half hour, and then tried to ram his way through a barricade of cruisers.

When it was all said and done, the November car chase resulted in 63 Cleveland Police Department suspensions, and the third part of the disciplinary actions will deal with the 13 officers who shot Timothy Russell and his passenger.