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The Community Coalition Concerned for Black Life convened a town hall-style meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the historic Olivet Institutional Baptist Church on Cleveland’s majority Black east side on Saturday, March 5. Organizers said that the overall purpose of the meeting at Olivet was to discuss issues affecting the Black community and how Sanders would address such issues if ultimately elected president.
On May 23, Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O’Donnell found Officer Michael Brelo not guilty of felony involuntary manslaughter in the killing deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. Williams and Russell were killed in November 2012 after Cleveland police officers unleashed 137 gunshots into the couple’s car following a police pursuit. The family of Timothy Ray Russell released the following statement in response.
A horrific shooting on Nov. 29 resulted in the death of two unarmed African Americans, Malissa Williams, 30, and Timothy Russell, 43. This may be the worst example of excessive use of deadly force in the history of the United States. The fact that 12 of the 13 Cleveland police officers were white and the victims were Black in a city which has an almost 70 percent minority population is a crisis. We all know that 12 Black police officers would never have fired 137 shots at Black or white citizens.