State and local officials speak out after Cleveland police release its findings in deadly pursuit

CLEVELAND - State and local officials reacted strongly to the Cleveland police's internal review of last November's deadly pursuit Thursday.

"I do think it was a perfect chase," said Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association.  Follmer praised his officers for protecting one another and innocent bystanders, none of whom were injured in the incident.

During a news conference on Wednesday, city officials released its findings of the chase and shooting that left Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams dead after officers fired 137 rounds at the two suspects. Officials said more than 100 officers and supervisors could face discipline, but a majority followed proper procedure.

"There is a systemic failure in the police department," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine who's calling for major police personnel changes.

"Until the police department recognizes that it has a problem, we're not going to get the results that the people of Cleveland need to see," he said.

DeWine's office completed its own investigation into the matter earlier this year.

The review stated that 64 vehicles and dozens of officers were involved in a 20-mile chase that started in Cleveland and ended in East Cleveland.

"We're not here to break the rules," Follmer said. "We're here to put the bad guys in jail. We're here to do our job."

Officers and supervisors who violated policies and procedures face a wide variety of discipline, including a written reprimand, 10 to 30 days suspension or termination.

Meanwhile, the case remains in the hands of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office where a grand jury will determine if any criminal charges should be filed relating to the chase.

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