One year after a high-speed Cleveland police chase, questions remain about how the chase ended with a shootout that left two unarmed people dead.
CLEVELAND - More than one month after a Cleveland police chase turned into a fatal shooting, city hall released the personnel files of the 13 officers involved in the Nov. 29 incident.
Each personnel file is lengthy, consisting of at least 100 pages of documents. We're combing through each file to find out more about the officers' histories.
So far, none of the officers have faced serious disciplinary action, according to the records we received.
We have found a few officers have disciplinary actions involving incidents somewhat similar to the Nov. 29 chase and shooting.
In 2008, Patrol Officer William Salupo was found to have violated the city's pursuit policy. The records show he hit a utility pole while participating in a chase. He did not have permission to join the chase.
In 2000, Patrol Officer Paul Box was also found to have violated the city's pursuit policy.
Patrol Officer Michael Brelo received retraining on the use of force policy and other department rules last July. The records say Brelo reached across a suspect's lap put the suspect's car in park during a traffic stop. He and his partner received minor injuries when the suspect then put the car in reverse. The investigating officer said it was an example of "how not to" conduct a traffic stop.
Though the information does not appear in their personnel files, we have also learned some of the officers have been accused of excessive force. NewsChannel5 investigators found detectives Erin O'Donnell and Michael Demchak were accused of beating a correction's officer they mistook for an escaped prisoner.
Det. Christopher Ereg has been accused of using excessive force against a Lakewood woman. The woman told us Ereg handcuffed her so tightly it caused nerve damage.
Below is a list of the 13 officers involved in the incident. Click on a name to see a condensed version (.pdf) of their personnel file information:
1. Patrol Officer Wilfredo Diaz #350 - Appointment Date: 11-3-08
2. Patrol Officer Michael Brelo #416 - Appointment Date: 10-15-07
3. Patrol Officer Cynthia Moore #1277 - Appointment Date: 10-15-07
4. Patrol Officer Michael Farley #409 - Appointment Date: 4-8-96
5. Patrol Officer Brian Sabolik #1021 - Appointment Date: 1-10-11
6. Patrol Officer Paul Box #2526 - Appointment Date: 8-19-96
7. Patrol Officer Randy Patrick #1580 - Appointment Date: 8-4-97
8. Patrol Officer Scott Sistek #1395 - Appointment Date: 2-25-08
9. Detective Michael Demchak #1621 - Appointment Date: 10-23-82
10. Detective Erin O'Donnell #1027 - Appointment Date: 9-28-98
11. Detective Christopher Ereg #767 - Appointment Date: 8-30-99
12. Detective Michael Rinkus #2182 - Appointment Date: 1-6-92
13. Detective William Salupo #1969 - Appointment Date: 2-17-98
The 13 officers were put on administrative leave after the Nov. 29 chase turned double fatal shooting. In all, 137 rounds were fired, leaving Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell Jr. dead.
The chase began when officers at the Cuyahoga Justice Center thought they heard a gunshot fired from Russell's car. The 25 minute chase ended outside Heritage Middle School in East Cleveland.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (Ohio BCI) are conducting the criminal investigation into the officers' action. Cleveland police are conducting their own review of the chase and shooting. They expect to wrap up their review of the chase by the end of January.
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