A high-speed chase in Cleveland that led to the shooting death of two unarmed people last year has resulted in major consequences for the police officers involved.
Police officials announced that 63 officers would be suspended for their involvement in the incident. The 63 suspended do not include the 13 officers who actually fired 137 rounds at Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell near a middle school last November. The 63 officers, however, were found to have not followed procedure and, according to Chief Michael McGrath, had to be disciplined.
“Under a stressful, tactful situation,” said McGrath, “it’s more important to follow your rules and procedures than ever before, or you may have some type of chaos or problems.”
The suspensions of the 63 officers will total 178 days, with the longest for one officer being 10 days.
The chase, which happened on November 29th, lasted 25 minutes, as Russell and Williams led police through various parts of Cleveland. It eventually ended near an East Cleveland middle school when 13 of the 104 officers at the scene shot a total of 137 fatal rounds at Russell and Williams. Neither of them had weapons on them or in their vehicle, and that, officials say, is where the problem lies.
The disciplinary action is to be taken in three phases. The first stage included the firing of one supervisor, demotion of two, and suspension of nine others. The second phase involves the suspension of the 63 officers who didn’t follow procedure during the incident, and the third phase will deal with the 13 officers who actually fired the fatal rounds.
Chief McGrath says that the department will be changing the way it trains supervisors starting next year, as well as having other programs in place to deal with the potential for situations like this.