Cleveland policeman acquitted in shooting now wanted for assault

By Kim Palmer
Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo (C) sits during his manslaughter trial in Cleveland, Ohio April 6, 2015. REUTERS/Tony Dejak/Pool

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The Cleveland police officer acquitted in May in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects is wanted for assault on suspicion of beating his brother, according to an arrest warrant issued on Wednesday.

The warrant for Michael Brelo, 31, stemmed from an alleged May 27 assault on his brother, Mark R. Brelo, that left "visible injuries," according to a document filed in Rocky River Municipal Court.

Demonstrations erupted over Memorial Day weekend after Cuyahoga County Judge John O'Donnell found Brelo not guilty of two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

The verdict in the Brelo case came as U.S. law enforcement faced growing scrutiny over the use of lethal force against minority groups.

Brelo was one of 13 Cleveland police officers who shot 137 rounds after a 22-mile chase that began in downtown Cleveland. At trial prosecutors accused Brelo, who is white, of firing the final and fatal shots at the two while standing on the hood of Russell's 1979 Chevy Malibu. Russell and Williams were black.

Cleveland recently announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding changes to police policy, training and civilian review after an investigation found the city's police systematically engage in excessive use of force against civilians.

Brelo remains on unpaid administrative leave as the department reviews the shooting.

(Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Tom Brown)