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Comments on officer’s acquittal in Cleveland police killing

Michael Brelo, a white Cleveland patrolman, was acquitted Saturday in the deaths of two unarmed black motorists, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, who were killed in a 137-shot barrage by several officers. Some reaction to the judge’s verdict and the potential for protests:

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“I am for peace. I don’t want people involved in burning down buildings or hurting anybody. … We need to organize and figure out a way to stop this from happening again.” Brelo is “not going to dodge this just because he was acquitted. God will have the final say.” — Michelle Russell, sister of Timothy Russell.

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“Thirteen officers fired shots with the intent to kill. … Being not guilty is not the same as innocent.” — Paul Cristallo, attorney for family of Timothy Russell.

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“Violence is not the answer, and it’s all about trying to find a solution, for good or for bad. In any case in anything that goes on in our world or in America, the only thing we should worry about are the families that have lost loved ones. You can never get them back, and we should worry about the families and how they are doing. And for the city of Cleveland, let’s use our excitement or whatever passion we have for our sport tomorrow for the game tomorrow night and as our team we will do our best to give it back to them.” — Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

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“Police murder people of color and not have to serve one day in jail. … We have to keep figuring out how to take it on and build a larger movement to stop” police from killing people of color. — Community activist Carol Steiner.

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“I hope Cleveland chooses to take the opportunity to shine, as opposed to maybe something else. … I think we all know that our world isn’t perfect. I haven’t been here my whole life, but I’ve been here long enough to care about it, and whatever happens I hope that the people here, the true colors really show and that we show the world that we can shine.” — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, before an afternoon home against Cincinnati.

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“To highlight the danger that the out-of-control police also posed to the innocent public and to one another, one only need examine the heavy ‘friendly fire’ they inflicted on their own police cars. Only by the grace of God did we not have a number of police deaths.” — Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty.

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“The court has spoken and we must respect its decision. Everyone must have the right for their response to be heard — including when they are angry and hurt — and voicing that frustration in a peaceful way helps us all rise above those forces that would hold us back and tear us down.” — Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

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“The verdict is another chilling reminder of a broken relationship between the Cleveland police department and the community it serves. Today we have been told — yet again — our lives have no value. … The decision may not be what we want but our march for justice continues. We still have a long way to go toward racial equality and justice in Ohio, and in the entire United States of America.” — U.S. Rep Marcia Fudge, who district covers much of Cleveland.

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“This is a moment that will define us as a city and as a people.” — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

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“We will continue our assessment, review all available legal options, and will collaboratively determine what, if any, additional steps are available and appropriate given the requirements and limitations of the applicable laws in the federal judicial system.” — U.S. Justice Department, in a prepared statement.

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