CLEVELAND (AP) – The judge who found a white Cleveland policeman not guilty in the deaths of two black suspects who were killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire says the case has nothing to do with race.
In an interview with Politico published Friday, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell says that while he deliberated patrolman Michael Brelo’s fate, race “never consciously entered” his thoughts. O’Donnell says prosecutors failed to prove Brelo wasn’t legally justified in firing 49 shots at the unarmed suspects, the last 15 while standing on the hood.
O’Donnell acquitted Brelo of two counts of involuntary manslaughter last month. That sparked protests in Cleveland that led to dozens of arrests.
O’Donnell says he doesn’t know if a jury would have reached the same conclusion.
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