ACLU wants special prosecutor for Cleveland police chase, deadly shooting

McGinty asked to recuse himself from investigation

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Chapter of the ACLU is asking the Ohio Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the deadly police chase and shooting from Nov. 29.

A nearly-25-minute chase that started near the Cuyahoga County Justice Center ended with Cleveland police officers firing 137 shots. The driver of the car and his passenger were killed.

Cleveland Chapter of the ACLU says it made the request because of statements made by Attorney General Mike DeWine, who said he would have to be asked to appoint a special prosecutor.

"Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, requests for special prosecutors must be made by a county prosecuting attorney. The Ohio Attorney General's Office must be appointed in order to become involved as a special prosecutor. The Attorney General has no independent authority to appoint a special prosecutor absent a request from a county prosecuting attorney," DeWine's office said in a statement.

The ACLU has also asked that newly-elected Cuyahoga Prosecutor Tim McGinty to recuse himself.

"I have never been one to dodge hard work. I have asked Attorney General Mike DeWine and Sheriff Bob Reid to thoroughly investigate this matter. I have great confidence in their ability and professionalism," McGinty told NewsChannel5.

"The ACLU said McGinty did nothing wrong but they feel he is to close to the police department since he works with them everyday," said Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland police union. "Other issues that could arise is the Cleveland Police Patrolman Association or CPPA endorsed McGinty during his recent run for his current job, which he won in November."

Ohio Criminal Bureau of Investigations representatives already interviewed the 13 Cleveland police officers who fired their weapons that night. On Thursday, another two people were interviewed by BCI investigators with more coming next week.

"Right now, we are trying to get a list. How many cars are involved and the people that were in the car," Follmer said.

Follmer remained steadfast that when it's all said and done, the officers will have been justified in using deadly force.

Officers that night fired 137 rounds at Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell after the chase that ended behind Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland.

Video released by the police shows and car speeding past an officer near the Justice Center on St. Clair.That officer thought he heard a shot being fired as the car sped by, Cleveland police said.

No bullets or shell casings have been found inside the car driven by Russell. Gun residue tests are reportedly complete, but DeWine said no more information would be released until the report is complete and turned over to the prosecutor.

"We are comfortable whichever way the results come out," Follmer said. "I wish the results would come out sooner."

On Friday, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton will be holding a public forum where he will update the community on the latest with the investigation. That will start at 6 p.m. The NAACP is also expected to attend the event.

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