'This is Straight Murder': Protests Sweep City Following Cleveland Acquittal

After a white police officer in Cleveland, Ohio was acquitted on Saturday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man and woman in 2012, protests against racism and police brutality spread throughout the city as activists called for justice.

Police in riot gear arrested multiple protesters marching peacefully through the streets of Cleveland, where the shooting took place. Activists chanted, “No justice, no peace” outside of the courthouse where the officer was cleared of voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault.

The trial had been closely watched as a growing civil rights movement swept the country. The officer, Michael Brelo, and 10 other officers fired 137 shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after a 20-minute car chase, with Brelo climbing onto the hood of Russell’s car and delivering 15 shots at close range.

Brelo later claimed he was in fear for his life, believing Russell and Williams had a weapon.

Neither of them did.

On social media, images circulated of Russell’s windshield, riddled with bullet holes, as an example of the kind of brutality that Cleveland’s majority-black residents face from the city’s police department.

Williams’ brother, Alfredo, reacted to the verdict on Saturday with pained outrage. “This is straight murder,” he said in an interview, displaying a poster with an image of his sister’s face. “I can’t get her back.”