Ohio officer acquitted in 137-shot case faces assault charge

Jun 3, 2015, 11:36 AM
FILE - In this May 23, 2015 file photo, Michael Brelo listens to the judge read his verdict in Cleveland. Brelo, a Cleveland officer found not guilty in the fatal shooting of two people in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire has been charged with beating up his twin brother four days after his acquittal. A criminal complaint filled Wednesday, June 3, 2015, against 31-year-old Michael Brelo and brother Mark shows the two were charged with attacking each other May 27 in the suburb of Bay Village.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND (AP) — A white patrolman found not guilty in the fatal shooting of two unarmed black suspects in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor assault after a fight with his twin brother four days after his acquittal.

Criminal complaints filed in a suburban Cleveland municipal court said 31-year-old Michael Brelo and brother Mark had visible injuries after their fight May 27 in Bay Village. Arrest warrants were issued for the twins Wednesday, though they were expected to turn themselves in later in the day.

Michael Brelo was acquitted by a judge May 23 on voluntary manslaughter charges in the November 2012 shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after Russell’s beat-up car backfired outside police headquarters, prompting a high-speed chase with officers who mistook the sound for gunfire. Brelo was accused of firing the final 15 shots of the barrage while standing on the hood of Russell’s car.

The judge said that while prosecutors couldn’t prove Michael Brelo fired the fatal rounds, it didn’t matter because all 49 shots Brelo fired that night were legally justified given that he was trying to end a threat to his and other officers’ lives.

Brelo remains on an unpaid suspension and is expected to face administrative discipline. A Cleveland Police Department spokesman said officials are aware of the new charge and the department’s integrity control unit will be monitoring the case.

His acquittal prompted numerous, peaceful protests throughout Cleveland. More than 70 people were arrested the evening of May 23 after failing to heed police orders to disburse while gathering near popular downtown entertainment districts.

Court records show Mark Brelo also was cited for disorderly conduct May 27. A ticket posted on the Rocky River Municipal Court website said that Mark Brelo had a “high level of impairment” because of alcohol and that he was knocking on people’s doors around 4:30 a.m. while wearing only cargo shorts and carrying one shoe.

It’s unclear if the brothers have attorneys who can comment on this case. Messages seeking comment were left with Michael Brelo’s attorneys in the voluntary manslaughter case.

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Ohio officer acquitted in 137-shot case faces assault charge