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74 Cleveland police officers to face discipline after deadly pursuit

By CNN Staff
updated 1:56 PM EDT, Sun August 4, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A driver, 43, and passenger, 30, were killed after a 23-minute chase in Cleveland
  • Police chief: 104 of 277 officers on duty were involved somehow
  • The chase ended with 13 officers firing 137 shots at the car in East Cleveland
  • More disciplinary actions are possible when a deadly force review is complete

(CNN) -- Seventy-four Cleveland police officers will face disciplinary action for a 2012 pursuit in which two people were killed in a hail of 137 bullets, police Chief Michael McGrath said Friday.

The news conference dealt only with the pursuit, not the use of deadly force, which is still under investigation and will be addressed at a later date.

A review of the incident shows that on the night of November 29, the police force had 277 officers on duty. Of those, 104 were involved in the chase, McGrath said.

"It was really a tragic pursuit," the chief said. "When those officers started their tour of duty that evening, they started it with good intentions."

The disciplinary actions for the 74 officers will range from reprimand to suspension, McGrath said. Their violations include insubordination, endangerment of pursuit, improper emergency response driving and leaving the city.

The incident began when officers saw a car speeding and heard what they thought was a gunshot, according to CNN affiliate WOIO. Police pursued the vehicle, and the driver, Timothy Russell, refused to stop, police told the station.

Though officers reported seeing a gun in the car, no weapon was ever found, WOIO reported.

The 23-minute chase took officers to East Cleveland, where 13 of them fired 137 shots, killing Russell, 43, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, 30, CNN affiliate WJW reported.

In June, 12 officers, including a captain and a lieutenant, were disciplined. Nine were suspended, two were demoted and one was fired, according to media reports.

Officers may face more disciplinary action once the deadly force review is complete, McGrath said.

CNN's John Branch and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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