The Department of Justice announced Saturday that it will review the 2012 shooting of an unarmed black couple by a white police officer in Cleveland.
The announcement comes hours after a Cuyahoga County judge ruled that police officer Michael Brelo was justified in the Nov. 29, 2012 shooting, which ended with Brelo getting on top of a car’s hood and firing 15 shots through the windshield, killing the couple.
The DOJ said in a press release that it will review the testimony and evidence presented at Brelo’s trial.
“We will continue our assessment, review all available legal options and will collaboratively determine what, if any, additional steps are available and appropriate given the requirements and limitations of the applicable laws in the federal judicial system,” the statement said.
Ohio politicians reacted swiftly to Saturday’s verdict.
“In Ohio, we are working hard to rebuild strong communities where every voice is heard and respected – and we’re making progress, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in a statement. “Even in the middle of the strong feelings many have today, we can’t lose sight of how Ohio has begun to successfully come together.”
Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who is black, told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield she’s “disappointed” with the verdict.
“What happens in our communities is that some people get the benefit of the doubt, and some people do not,” Fudge said. “Too often, people in the African-American community do not, and so we are treated very, very differently by the judicial system.”
She referenced other recent incidents in which African-Americans died at the hands of white police officers, and called for reforms in the criminal justice system.
Fudge also took to Twitter to share her opinion on the decision.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, also took to Twitter to share his opinion.
Soon after the verdict was announced, dozens of protesters took to Cleveland’s streets to peacefully demonstrate against the decision. Speaking at a press conference Saturday afternoon, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he would support peaceful demonstrations.
“This is a defining moment for Cleveland as we look at this verdict, and we respond to that verdict, and we, as a city, move ahead in a way that will ensure that whatever the injustices may be will no longer happen again,” he said.