Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo Found Not Guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter in Shooting Deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams (VIDEO)
NOT GUILTY …
Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O’Donnell has reached the following verdict … 31 year old police officer Michael Brelo has been found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter and a lesser charge of felonious assault in the shooting deaths of two unarmed passengers, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The shooting took place following the November 29, 2012 police chase. The not guilty verdict may have ramifications as one again we are presented with a volatile situation as a white police officer killed two black individuals. Hopefully calm will be kept following the verdict.
A Cleveland police officer has been found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of two unarmed passengers whose car hood he mounted, firing multiple shots into their windshield.
Michael Brelo, 31, who is white, was charged with killing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams — both of whom were black — after a car chase in November 2012. He rubbed his face and nodded his head as the judge read the verdict.
“Brelo reasonably perceived a threat,” Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said while he found beyond a reasonable doubt that Brelo caused at least one fatal wound to Williams’ chest, he couldn’t determine that the other fatal shots came from his gun.
“One or two other officers inflicted” the others, O’Donnell said, and therefore, he couldn’t find Brelo guilty of Williams’ death.
UPDATE I: Not Guilty on all charges …
The trial was also notable in that it was a bench trial in which the Judge John. P. O’Connell acted as the finder of fact.
Even more unusually, at the close of the trial the judge spent over an hour, prior to announcing the verdict, stepping through his rationale for coming to his conclusion.
The result is Judge O’Connell ruled that:
- The two counts of voluntary manslaughter had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt;
- The two counts of felonious assault had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt; but
- Brelo escapes legal liability for those assault charges because he proved justification by a preponderance of the evidence.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced sheriff’s deputies will join police to keep streets safe following the verdict in Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo’s trial.
At the end of the trial, O’Donnell said he was aware of unrest related to police use of force in other cities, including Baltimore. Mayor Frank Jackson said during a community meeting that the city is tapping residents, activists and even protesters to help make sure demonstrations don’t become violent.
“I firmly believe that the First Amendment gives every citizen a rightful path to speak out and protest against that which they do not like. However, the path to free speech ends at the door to violence.
Justice Department Won’t Charge Former Ferguson, Missouri Policeman Darren Wilson in Michael Brown Death
“HANDS UP DON’T SHOOT WAS A LIE” … DOJ WON’T FILE FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS CHARGES AGAINST FORMER POLICE OFFICER DARREN WILSON.
Eric Holder’s DOJ eats crow again as there will be no civil rights charges brought be the feds against former Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson. The Justice Department report found no evidence that “Wilson’s actions violated federal civil rights laws.” Of course he didn’t. All Officer Wilson did was his job in tying to arrest a punk who strong armed robbed a convenience store. The result was an altercation with a so-called, bias-media driven “gentle giant” who tried to assault officer Wilson and take his gun. Question, does it really take an investigation from the DOJ to learn the obvious, when a street thug robs a store, assaults a police officer and tries to take their gun, one winds up dead. Police officer Darren Wilson was charged with the murder of Michael Brown and a witch hunt occurred by the liberal media and so-called black activists to get a scalp. Because heaven forbid, officer Wilson was just doing his job, protecting and servicing the public from a punk. In the end, Darren Wilson was 100% exonerated of all criminal and civil rights charges as a grand jury refused to even indict Wilson and not the DOJ knows it has nothing to charge him with either. It was all a show to trump up racial tension, create division and then find a scapegoat. The MSM’s, Al Sharpton’s and Eric Holder’s war on police failed in this case. But their actions have probably harmed him in that he can probably never get another job as a police officer, ever.
A good man and police officer exonerated
Former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s attorney is reacting to the findings of the Justice Department investigation saying there will be no federal civil rights charges filed against Wilson.
Attorney Neil Bruntrager says Wilson is pleased with what amounts to an “exoneration” from the DOJ.
“Well, obviously the reaction is one of relief,” Bruntrager says. “It’s been a long road for him. Now he needs to get on with his life.”
The Justice Department report found no evidence that “Wilson’s actions violated federal civil rights laws.”
86 page DOJ doc into investigation of Officer Wilson to prove what we already knew, he did nothing wrong. There was never any “willful” act on the part of Officer Wilson to violate Michael Brown’s civil rights , ever. In fact, one might say that the only “willful” act in all of this was to railroad Officer Wislon in a race-baiting witch hunt. From page 86 below of DOJ’s report regarding the criminal investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown.
As discussed above, Darren Wilson has stated his intent in shooting Michael Brown was
in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under
section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e.,
that Brown never assaulted Wilson at the SUV, never attempted to gain control of Wilson’s gun,
and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to
perceive. Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his
perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses, to include aspects
of the testimony of Witness 101, there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown
as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat. Even if Wilson was
mistaken in his interpretation of Brown’s conduct, the fact that others interpreted that conduct
the same way as Wilson precludes a determination that he acted with a bad purpose to disobey
the law. The same is true even if Wilson could be said to have acted with poor judgment in the
manner in which he first interacted with Brown, or in pursuing Brown after the incident at the
SUV. These are matters of policy and procedure that do not rise to the level of a Constitutional
violation and thus cannot support a criminal prosecution. Cf. Gardner v. Howard, 109 F.3d 427,
430–31 (8th Cir. 1997) (violation of internal policies and procedures does not in and of itself rise
to violation of Constitution).
Because Wilson did not act with the requisite criminal intent, it cannot be proven beyond
reasonable doubt to a jury that he violated 18 U.S.C.§ 242 when he fired his weapon at Brown.
For the reasons set forth above, this matter lacks prosecutive merit and should be closed.
Officer Wilson’s attorney, Attorney Neil Bruntrager, stated “Well, obviously the reaction is one of relief. It’s been a long road for him. Now he needs to get on with his life.” Yes he does and that is the question. How does Darren Wilson get on with his life and his life back after the smear merchants in the MSM, the race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the bias and race card playing likes of Attorney General Eric Holder have all but ruined this good man’s reputation?
In the end, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice will not file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.
The Department of Justice will not be filing charges against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Try as they might to to charge Zimmerman in this politically motivated sham of a DOJ investigation, it turns out they had nothing. Zimmerman was originally charged with the first degree murder of Trayvon Martin as many irresponsible individuals stated it was racially motivated and a hate crime. The “white” Hispanic killed a black teen. Even though the feds had intimated that there would be no charges filed, federal officials have insisted their civil-rights probe would be thorough and complete as it went on for nearly three years. After all is said and done, after the liberal MSM and Obama/Holder Justice Department tried to railroad Zimmerman, he walks away with an acquittal and no civil rights charges. That usually occurs when one kills another in a self defense shooting. As Legal Insurrection opined, “This decision comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the actual facts of the case.” Imagine that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, NBPP, NAACP and the rest of the race-baiters, George Zimmerman did not violate Trayvon Martin’s civil rights or kill him because of his color.
Local prosecutors initially did not feel there was enough evidence to prosecute the case. They were replaced and a politically motivated prosecution was conducted to get their pound of flesh from George Zimmerman. The murder prosecution failed, not the federal investigation into civil rights charges against Zimmerman has failed. One has to wonder if a civil law suit is next? However, I would have to agree with Robert Zimmerman, a wrongful death trial, could be very troubling to the family of Trayvon Martin and could lead to very unpleasant facts that were never a part of the criminal trial.
Justice Department officials met with Martin’s family today, and were told that they will not be filing charges against George Zimmerman, who shot the 17-year-old after a confrontation in 2012. Thursday marks three years to the day since Martin was killed.
Federal prosecutors concluded there is not sufficient evidence to prove Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla., intentionally violated Martin’s civil rights.
“Although the department has determined that this matter cannot be prosecuted federally, it is important to remember that this incident resulted in the tragic loss of a teenager’s life,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division said. “Our decision not to pursue federal charges does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases.” The case sparked intense discussions over race in America because Martin was walking to his home with only Skittles and an iced tea in his hands.
Florida prosecutors tried to convict Zimmerman of state-level murder and manslaughter charges, but in July 2013 a jury acquitted him, saying prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to prove their case.
Shortly after Zimmerman’s acquittal in state court on July 13, 2013, federal investigators resumed active investigation. Federal investigators reviewed all of the material and evidence generated by the state of Florida in connection with its investigation and prosecution of Zimmerman, including witness statements, crime scene evidence, cell phone data, ballistics reports, reconstruction analysis, medical and autopsy reports, depositions, and the trial record. Federal investigators also independently conducted 75 witness interviews and obtained and reviewed the contents of relevant electronic devices. The investigation included an examination of police reports and additional evidence that was generated related to encounters Zimmerman has had with law enforcement in Florida since the state trial acquittal. In addition, federal authorities retained an independent biomechanical expert who assessed Zimmerman’s descriptions of the struggle and the shooting.
The federal investigation sought to determine whether the evidence of the events that led to Martin’s death were sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman’s actions violated the federal criminal civil rights statutes, specifically Section 3631 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code or Section 249 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, as well as other relevant federal criminal statutes. Section 3631 criminalizes willfully using force or threat of force to interfere with a person’s federally protected housing rights on account of that person’s race or color. Section 249 criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury to a person because of that person’s actual or perceived race. Courts define “willfully” to require proof that a defendant knew his acts were unlawful, and committed those acts in open defiance of the law. It is one of the highest standards of intent imposed by law.
The federal investigation examined whether Zimmerman violated civil rights statutes at any point during his interaction with Martin, from their initial encounter through the fatal shooting. This included investigating whether there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman violated Section 3631 by approaching Martin in a threatening manner before the fatal shooting because of Martin’s race and because he was using the residential neighborhood. Investigators also looked at whether there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman violated Section 3631 or Section 249, by using force against Martin either during their struggle or when shooting Martin, because of Martin’s race.
“Although the department has determined that this matter cannot be prosecuted federally, it is important to remember that this incident resulted in the tragic loss of a teenager’s life,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “Our decision not to pursue federal charges does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases.”
Judge Thokozile Masipa Rules Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius Not Guilty of Premeditated Murder in the Death of Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp … Still Faces “Culpable Homicide”(Update: Pistorius Found Guilty of Culpable Homicide)
Oscar Pistorius Found Not Guilty of Murder in Death of Reeva Steenkamp … Say hello to South Africa’s O.J. Simpson.
This morning Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, was not guilty of premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girl friend Reeva Steenkamp. The shooting took place on Valentine’s Day 2013. The judge ruled that the prosecution’s evidence to support a charge of premeditated murder was “purely circumstantial.” and “the state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder.” The judge went on to say that “there are not enough facts.” However, Pistorius is hardly out of trouble as he only has been found “not guilty” of the most serious murder charge. He still faces the lesser charges of “culpable homicide” in the shooting death of his girlfriend.
The judge presiding over the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic athlete, cleared him of the two most serious murder charges against him on Thursday, almost certainly sparing him a long prison sentence. But then, after appearing to be on the verge of declaring Mr. Pistorius guilty of a lesser crime, culpable homicide, in the shooting death of his girlfriend, the judge abruptly suspended court proceedings for the rest of the day.
“We’ll have to stop here and resume tomorrow morning,” the judge, Thokozile Matilda Masipa, said less than half an hour after the session had resumed after a lunch break. She did not explain the adjournment.
Judge Masipa then turned to the lesser charge of culpable homicide, which is comparable to involuntary manslaughter, and said Mr. Pistorius had failed three tests to be exonerated of the charge. One considers what a “reasonable” person would have done under the same circumstances.
Reuters – Africa: Pistorius cleared of murder, culpable homicide verdict to come.
“I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force. It is clear that his conduct was negligent,” she told the packed courtroom before adjourning until Friday. She also said he had not acted “reasonably”.
Earlier, Masipa ruled that prosecutors, led by the combative Gerrie Nel, had failed to prove the 27-year-old intended to kill Steenkamp after an argument.
The defence said Pistorius shot Steenkamp as a result of a tragic accident after mistaking her for an intruder hiding behind a locked toilet door.
As Masipa delivered her not-guilty decision on the primary charge of premeditated murder, Pistorius, who would have faced at least 25 years behind bars if convicted, sat sobbing in the dock, tears streaming down his cheeks.
Culpable homicide – the South African equivalent of Britain’s manslaughter – carries up to 15 years in prison but has no minimum sentence.
Although Masipa described Pistorius as a “very poor” and “evasive” witness, she said it did not mean he was necessarily guilty in a case heavily reliant on circumstantial evidence
ABC News: Judge Masipa called Pistorius a “very poor witness” during the murder trial and found he was at times vague and avoided answering some of the prosecution’s questions. Despite that, she says this does not necessarily indicate his guilt. From the wording of the judge’s decision in the not guilty verdict of murder and premeditated murder,m it seems almost a certainty that she will find him guilty of culpable homicide.
A verdict on the charge of culpable homicide, similar to manslaughter in the United States, still remains. Pistorius also faces two counts of discharging a gun in a public area, as well as illegal possession of ammunition.
If he is found guilty of murder without premeditation, or culpable homicide, he could receive a 15-year sentence as a first time offender. Mitigating factors, such as his emotional state, anxiety levels and disability could result in a lesser sentence.
The Guardian: LIVE updated coverage of the trial of Oscar Pistorius.
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on Friday, escaping the more serious charge of murder for the killing of his girlfriend, and will now battle to avoid going to prison.
The 27-year-old double amputee, who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, stood impassively in the dock, his hands folded in front of him, as Judge Thokozila Masipa delivered her verdict.
Pistorius was also convicted of firing a pistol under the table of a packed Johannesburg restaurant but cleared of two other firearms charges – illegal possession of ammunition and firing a pistol out of the sun-roof of a car.