5 Officers Involved In Cleveland ‘137-Shots’ Chase Get Jobs Back


Former Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo will remain fired for his role in the November 2012 police chase and shooting that ended with Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams dying in a hail of 137 bullets, according to his attorney.

Arbitrator William Heekin ruled that Brelo should remain fired and that five other officers who were fired should get their jobs back, without back pay. Heekin also upheld the suspension of six other officers involved in the chase.

In reinstating the fired officers, the arbitrator did not refute the claims against them. In most cases he simply stated that the officers had been good officers before the incident, quoting from a supervisor who spoke on the officer’s behalf.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement that he’s pleased with the arbitrator’s ruling that Brelo should remain off the force.

“We are pleased that the arbitrator confirmed the severity of the violations committed by the officers and that he upheld the termination of Officer Brelo and that he upheld the lengthy suspensions for the six officers who the City had not terminated,” the statement said.

Jackson, however, also said he was disappointed with the reinstatement of officers Wilfredo Diaz, Brian Sabolik and Michael Farley and detectives Christopher Ereg and Erin O’Donnell.

“We believe that the City’s decision to terminate the other five officers was justified and should have been upheld,” Jackson’s statement says. “We acknowledge that the arbitrator concluded that those officers committed serious policy violations; however, we are reviewing our options regarding the officers whose terminations were not upheld.”

All six officers took their cases to arbitration in October.

“It was a difficult case for both sides and a gratifying outcome,” D’Angelo said. “We realize we didn’t prevail in everything that we were seeking but we saved the career of five fine officers.”

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