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Five Cleveland Police Supervisors Now Face Charges in East Cleveland

Police fired 137 gunshots at Timothy Russell's Chevy Malibu, photographed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Police fired 137 gunshots at Timothy Russell's Chevy Malibu, photographed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Five Cleveland police supervisors charged in connection with a 2012 fatal car chase have now been charged again in the city of East Cleveland, where the chase ended in 137 gunshots. Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both unarmed and African American, were killed.

The supervisors face misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty. They were indicted on those same charges last year in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, and the trial was scheduled to begin later this month.

Now prosecutors hope to try them in East Cleveland Municipal Court instead.

"These supervisors failed to do their duty to limit and manage the chase and thereby endangered both the public and the officers they were supposed to be leading that night," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a written statement.

Henry Hilow, a defense attorney for one of the supervisors, criticized the move, saying prosecutors had already made the decision to try the case at the county level.

"They did so after having this case for over two and a half years and making the independent determination that this case should be tried in common pleas court," Hilow said. "They chose to indict it. And now they’re moving us to East Cleveland court, which could have been done if East Cleveland had thought it was appropriate, heck, any time after November 2012.”

Hilow says he’s determined to go to trial in Common Pleas court.

The new charges would effectively move the case out of the courtroom of Judge John O’Donnell. Earlier this year, O’Donnell acquitted Officer Michael Brelo of manslaughter charges he faced for his role in the shooting.

Police Lieutenant Paul Wilson and Sergeants Jason Edens, Randolph Dailey, Michael Donegan and Patricia Coleman face two counts each of dereliction of duty, according to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office.

East Cleveland is 93 percent black and its only municipal judge is African-American.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.