CLEVELAND - Dozens of community activists, local residents and families of loved ones whose lives have been taken by police gathered in East Cleveland to demand justice.
"Our only hope is that the community gets involved more actively and the Justice Department does its job to see if there's anything that can be done to reform this (police) department," said Terry Gilbert, the attorney for the Timothy Russell family. Russell was one of two people killed last November after dozens of Cleveland police fired 137 rounds at his car following a high-speed chase.
Gilbert responded to the Cleveland Division of Police's administrative review of that deadly pursuit, which was released Wednesday. He said the department used another "stall tactic" to avoid serious punishment of its officers who were involved in the incident.
"I was a little disappointed," Gilbert said. "It's now been five months."
Others at the meeting echoed Gilbert's thoughts on the length of the investigation.
"For this to go on for five months, it lets you know that it's still very troubling," said Al Porter, vice-president of local community activist group Black on Black Crime.
The meeting included speeches by various community activists as well as victims' family members.
Gilbert called for widespread systematic change within the police department, and urged Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief Mike McGrath to step down.
"It's about time that they (Frank Jackson and Mike McGrath) step up and accept responsibility as a city and as a police department for a department that's out of control," he said.