NewsChannel5 Investigators have learned the City of Cleveland has hired an outside law firm to represent the city and 13 officers named in a federal lawsuit filed by the family members of the victims of the deadly Nov. 2012 police chase and shooting.
CLEVELAND - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said more state agents have been assigned to the investigation into last week's police chase in Cleveland that left two people dead.
DeWine, while present at the demolition of a house in Cleveland, told NewsChannel5 the police agencies involved in the case have asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification to take the lead in the investigation.
There are now 18 BCI agents dedicated – plus the crime lab – looking into how and why 13 Cleveland police officers shot and killed 43-year-old Timothy Russell and 30-year-old Malissa Williams during a chase that ended in East Cleveland last Thursday night. The officers fired a total of 137 shots at the end of the 22-minute chase.
"It's very important for us to get the facts and get them out to the public as quick as we can," said DeWine.
He said the timeframe of the investigation is not yet known, but wants to wait for every part of the investigation to be looked at.
"Our goal is to do it right. What the community really needs is the facts," said DeWine.
The chase started when a second district officer reported that a gunshot was fire from Russell's car near police headquarters downtown. Investigators said no gun was round in the suspect vehicle. Police have since searched the chase route to see if a gun was thrown from the vehicle. Gunshot residue tests are still pending on the suspects, too.
The 13 officers involved in the incident have been placed on desk duty, pending the outcome of the investigation.
DeWine is also asking for the public's help in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact BCI at 1-855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446).
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It was shortly after the Nov. 29 shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams that East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton asked something of his law director and prosecutor.