Cleveland fires 6 police officers over deadly 2012 chase

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Cleveland Police Officers Fired, Suspended After Deadly 2012 Chase

CLEVELAND (Reuters) -- Six Cleveland police officers were fired over their involvement in a November 2012 chase that led to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man and woman, city officials said on Tuesday.

Six other officers in the incident, which involved a 137-shot barrage, were suspended for 21 to 30 days, and another retired last year, officials said.

The officers fired included Michael Brelo, a white former U.S. Marine who was acquitted last May of manslaughter and aggravated assault for the incident, leading to protests.

"The incident was unprecedented," Cleveland Police Commander James Chura told reporters of the shooting, which killed Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. "It took an investigation just as unprecedented to get to the truth."

The decision to fire the officers comes as U.S. law enforcement is under scrutiny for the use of lethal force against minority groups. It followed a series of high-profile deaths of unarmed black men in confrontations with police, which have prompted sometimes violent demonstrations.

See protests related to the case:

23 PHOTOS
Cleveland protests, police shooting
See Gallery
Cleveland fires 6 police officers over deadly 2012 chase
A demonstrator is arrested during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Protestors march across the Detroit Superior Bridge as people take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Tanis Quach, of Cleveland, protests in front of the Justice Building. People take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Police in front of Progressive Field stand guard during demenstrations in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: A protestor throws a sign at a patron at Harry Buffal on E 4th. St. during demonstrations in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Demonstrators march during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
Worshippers hold hands at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church as the congregation is lead in a prayer for healing following the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Sunday, May 24, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators march during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators march during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mounted police follow demonstrators as they march through downtown during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A protestor films riot police as they advance on a small march against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators pause at the entrance to the Cuyahoga County Justice Center as police stand guard during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo
Protesters are escorted to a bus for transport after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters are directed to a bus for transport after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters are directed to a bus for transport after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters wait to be transported after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Protesters outside of Tower City in Public Square demonstrate in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
Riot police stand in formation as a protest forms against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cleveland police officers observe a protest near the home of the Cuyahoga County prosecutor after the acquittal of officer Michael Brelo, on Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo, a police officer charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, was acquitted, Saturday. Marchers also protested the lack of progress into the investigation of the killing of a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun by Cleveland police last year. (AP photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)
Alfredo Williams, left, and Renee Robinson, cousins of Malissa Williams who is one of the victims, protests outside the courthouse after the Michael Brelo verdict Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo, 31, a police officer charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Williams and Timothy Russell, during a 137-shot barrage of gunfire, was acquitted, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

The chase on Nov. 29, 2012, began in downtown Cleveland after reports of gunfire coming from Russell's car, where Williams was a passenger.

But no weapon was found in the car or along the route. A forensic mechanic testified at Brelo's trial that the car was prone to backfiring.

The Cleveland chase lasted more than 20 minutes and went through multiple cities at speeds topping 90 mph (145 kph), ending in a school parking lot where Russell was shot 24 times and Williams 23 times.

The U.S. Justice Department found in 2014 that the Cleveland police engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive force. Cleveland police also made national headlines in 2014 for the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old playing with a replica gun in a park.

Steve Loomis, president of the union that represents Cleveland officers, said the firings were "shamefully political" and "the direct result of the current and false narrative surrounding the facts and law enforcement throughout this country."

The union has filed grievances to get the officers their jobs back, Loomis said.

The firings and suspensions were announced after a 90-minute news conference which detailed a chaotic scene, with bullets flying in all directions. Brelo fired at the civilians from the hood of his squad car, officials said.

Cleveland paid the families of Williams and Russell $1.5 million each to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

More from AOL.com:
American tourist killed with sword-like weapon in Caribbean
Artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky dead at 88
Kim Richards breaks silence on ex-husband's death in touching tribute: I lost the 'best friend I've ever had'

Read Full Story

People are Reading