Prosecutor says judge made errors in Cleveland acquittal

An Ohio prosecutor asked a state appeals court to correct legal errors while acknowledging that he can not appeal an acquittal

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

An Ohio prosecutor said Friday that a judge made critical errors before finding a Cleveland police officer not guilty of the deaths of two unarmed suspects and asked a state appeals court to correct legal errors.

The prosecutor, Timothy McGinty of Cuyahoga County, filed the motion highlighting "egregious" mistakes in Judge John O'Donnell's ruling last Saturday that cleared officer Michael Brelo in the shooting deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell.

Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo, 31, was charged with the deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, as he fired 15 rounds into their windshield while standing on the hood of their car after it stopped following a police chase on November 29, 2012.

The filing comes amid a national outcry against police violence towards minorities, following a series of high-profile police killings of unarmed black men around the country that prompted waves of protest.

McGinty said in the document that prosecutors could not contest Brelo's acquittal but maintained that O'Donnell's errors needed to be remedied.

"If the errors in the verdict's legal statements and reasoning are left uncorrected, the future administration of justice in this county is compromised," McGinty said in a copy of the filing published on the website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

Judge John O’Donnell acquitted Saturday officer Brelo saying he acted reasonably in shooting the two people while standing on the hood of their surrounded car, firing multiple rounds through the windshield.

The trial  took place as a series of cases raise questions over police conduct and the US law enforcement’s use of lethal force against minority groups.

Several of the well-known cases include the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York City and most recently Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland.

TRTWorld and agencies