Cop Involved in Shooting Unarmed Pair 137 Times in 2012 Found Not Guilty

After a four week trial, Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty for the 2012 shooting deaths of Malissa Williams, 30, and Timothy Russell, 43. Brelo is white and Williams and Russell were Black.

Timothy Russell, 43; Malissa Williams, 30

Williams and Russell were both homeless and had been living in Cleveland shelters. On the night of November 29, 2012, the pair were riding in Russel's Chevy Malibu when they were pulled over for a turn signal violation. Russell apparently sped away, passing two other police vehicles. This began a high-speed chase.

The chase eventually ended at Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland. Officers fired on the vehicle, having reportedly mistook the earlier sound of the car backfiring for gunshots. Thirteen police officers, including Brelo, fired at least 137 rounds into the car. Malissa Williams was shot 24 times and Timothy Russell, 23. Both victims were unarmed.

Brelo continued shooting, climbing onto the hood of Russell's Chevy Malibu and firing 15 shots through the windshield, even after the other officers at the scene had determined the victims were no longer a threat.

Russell's car after the shooting (Photo: Associated Press)

This news comes two days after #SayHerName protests were held across the country to pay tribute to the long list of Black girls and women who have been victims of police brutality—with their stories often going without attention from mainstream media—and the continued #BlackLivesMatter protests to end police and state-sanctioned violence against Black people in America.

Sources:, The Washington Post

Michelle Denise Jackson is a writer, performer, storyteller, and Senior Editor at For Harriet. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleJigga or visit her website at You may also email her at

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