Criminal Justice Press Release

05.23.15

ACLU Issues Statement Following Brelo Verdict

Calls for Systemic Reforms of Cleveland Police Department

CLEVELAND—The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has issued a statement following the not guilty verdict in the Michael Brelo trial in the 2012 shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

“Let’s remember that two unarmed people, convicted of nothing, died at the hands of the police,” said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU. “To help prevent future tragedies in Cleveland, meaningful systemic reforms need to take place in the Cleveland Police Department.

“Unfortunately, troubled police-community relations has plagued Cleveland for decades as a result of the excessive use of force by law enforcement, particularly against people of color,” Link pointed out. “With the pending implementation of the U.S. Department of Justice’s consent decree, we urge the city of Cleveland to diligently work to create a police department that its citizens can trust. This will only happen if its officers are properly trained and supervised to keep everyone safe.”

The people of Cleveland are calling out for reform of this police department, and the ACLU will continue to work with U.S. Department of Justice, community groups, and the government to move toward a police department that is fair, restrained and committed to protecting the lives of all people. The ACLU’s goal is to help build community-police partnerships with the shared goals of equality, fairness, and justice to ensure public safety.