Lawyer Says Judge Used Faulty Logic in Cleveland

31 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ohio prosecutor says judge made serious errors in acquitting police officer.

An Ohio prosecutor said Friday a judge made critical errors before finding a Cleveland police officer not guilty in the deaths of two unarmed suspects and he wants an appeals court to order the judge to correct the record. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, citing court documents, reports Cuyuhoga County Assistant Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said that Judge John O’Donnell’s reasoning in the voluntary manslaughter trial of Officer Michael Brelo could set a legal precedent that would “endanger the public.” McGinty said Brelo’s acquittal last Saturday in the 2012 shooting deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell in a storm of police gunfire was based on the judge’s mistaken analysis of laws concerning police use of deadly force and on homicide involving more than one shooter. He said the judge also considered the wrong lesser charge – felonious assault – when he should have considered attempted voluntary manslaughter or aggravated assault. “As it stands, the trial court’s verdict will endanger the public, allow for one of multiple actors to escape culpability, and lead to more unnecessary deaths by police-created crossfire situations,” McGinty said in his filing with the appeals court. “This court must return the case with the corrections of law to the trial court with instructions to deliberate and reach a verdict with the correct application of the law and correct determination of lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter — attempted voluntary manslaughter or aggravated assault,” he said.

Brelo fired 49 of the 137 shots that night, but ut was the final 15 fired into the windshield while he stood on the hood of Russell’s car that led to his indictment and a four-week trial. “The United States Constitution does not provide cover for those officers who abandon all cover and place themselves and other officers in danger, using deadly force not as a last resort but, like Brelo did, in a manner inconsistent with reason, inconsistent with training, and inconsistent with established federal law.”But “… the law as stated in the verdict places no restraint on the tactics civilian police officers are to use, finding the use of any tactics to be justifiable so long as the officer perceives a subjective fear of his or her life,” McGinty said.

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