CLEVELAND (AP) – Autopsies found cocaine in the systems of two unarmed people killed by police in Cleveland after a chase that ended with 13 officers firing 137 rounds.
The reports Friday from the Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County medical examiner show cocaine in the blood of 43-year-old driver Timothy Russell and his passenger, 30-year-old Malissa Williams. He also tested positive for amphetamines and she tested positive for marijuana.
Russell was shot 23 times and Williams 24 after a half-hour pursuit involving at least 30 patrol cars. It’s unclear why Russell didn’t stop.
Some community leaders called the shootings a racially motivated execution. The police union says the shootings were justified because Russell tried to ram an officer. Some officers also thought the two were armed.
Williams and Russell each had previous criminal convictions.
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