On November 29, 2012, over two dozen police cars from multiple law enforcement jurisdictions participated in a 26-minute police chase through three northeastern Ohio cities. The chase ended on a dead-end street in East Cleveland, where 13 Cleveland police officers fired 137 rounds into one trapped vehicle, killing two unarmed suspects.
Police claimed the chase began when they heard a gunshot coming from a passing vehicle. However, no weapons, or evidence of gunshots were ever recovered and current reports claim the noise may well have been a backfiring engine.
In the weeks that followed, many other disturbing procedural questions emerged:
- Why were there over two dozen police vehicles involved in the chase, a number that appears to violate existing departmental policy on pursuits?
- Why did some officers who were ordered to terminate the chase refuse to comply?
- Why did a single police officer fire 30-40 rounds, a number that would necessitate reloading his weapon at least once?
These and other questions are currently being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the East Cleveland Police Department, and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department. The results of this investigation will be given to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty for review.
While the integrity of these investigators is not in question, their potential conflicts of interest are. Two of these local agencies were involved in the very events being investigated and the county prosecutor deals closely with all local law enforcement agencies on a day to day basis.
These facts make local personnel less than ideal for this investigation. For that reason, the ACLU of Ohio has asked the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor to step away. We have also requested that the Ohio Attorney General