Saturday, March 8, 2014

By Kathy Wray Coleman: Mayor Jackson gives Cleveland police a 'B' grade and an 'A' for professionalism during State of the City address in spite of unrest around the 137 shots police murder of 2 unarmed Blacks, tragic shooting is reenacted today, dead victim's family member says that 'they are reenacting the murdering,' police union president that called the shooting 'a good shooting' attends reenactment spearheaded by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

By  Kathy Wray Coleman, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: 216-659-0473. (Kathy Wray Coleman is a 20-year investigative and political journalist and legal reporter who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper, Ohio's Black press) / (

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
CLEVELAND, Ohio- Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, the city's third Black mayor who is two months into his third four-year term, gave his State of the City address on Wednesday at Public Auditorium and surprised people by giving the Cleveland Police Department a 'B' grade and an 'A' for professionalism, even in the wake of a deadly 137 shots gunning down of unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell by 13 all non-Black police officers who are still on the job. Moreover, the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation, led by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, is re-enacting the shooting this morning that occurred on November 29, 2012 following a police car chase that began in downtown Cleveland and ended in neighboring East Cleveland in the parking lot at Heritage Middle School. And the U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating police procedures and excessive force complaints.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty was at the scene of the reenactment today at Heritage Middle School.

"They are re-enacting the murdering,"said Dorothy Sigelmier, a close aunt of Malissa Williams. 

"We want them indicted,"  Sigelmier said at a rally around the shooting on Thursday led by Activist Kathy Wray Coleman and spearheaded by community activist groups including the Imperial Women Activists Group, the Carl Stokes Brigade, the Oppressed People's Nation, Black on Black Crime Inc, Sister to Sister and Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor.

"It was murder," said Ernest Smith at Thursday's rally, an East Cleveland activist who leads the East Cleveland grassroots groups the Oppressed People's Nation. 

There was no reasonable suspicion nor probable cause for Cleveland police to chase the car, public records reveal, though police now claim they thought they heard a gunshot but it was instead a car backfiring. 

No weapon was found in the 1979 Chevy Malibu driven by Russell, 43, in which Williams, 30, was a passenger, and racial unrest continues to mount in the largely Black major American city of Cleveland, a city with exorbitant crime rates, an epidemic of rape and murder of women across racial lines, debilitating poverty, and struggling public schools. 

DeWine's report around the tragedy lays blame at the city of Cleveland and systemic problems in its police department, something Jackson as mayor is in complete denial about, partly due to state and federal lawsuits filed by the Russell and Williams families. 

The deadly car chase ultimately included 104  police and some 64 police cruisers, some cops and some police supervisors punished, but not the 13 cops that did the shooting.

One of the 13 police officers , who is still on the job like the other 12 officers, jumped aboard the hood of the car and fired 49 bullets through the front windshield. Both Williams and Russell were pronounced dead at the scene.

New Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams
Last month the mayor shook up police personnel and ousted safety director Martin Flask, or made him a high paying assistant with no line authority over police as he once had. He promoted police chief Michael McGrath to the job held by Flask, and elevated Deputy Police Chief Calvin Williams, who is Black, to chief, the third Black Cleveland police chief. Before that the Black mayor had no Blacks as law director, safety directory, chief of police or chief city prosecutor. 

Williams immediately began instituting new police chase policies, including a requirement that unless suspected of a violent crime or an OVI police cannot pursue high speed vehicle chases and place the community at risk, policies that have angered Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeffrey

 A Cuyahoga County Grand Jury is currently hearing evidence for a potential indictment of the 13 police officers that did the shooting. While activists demand an indictment many support the new policies and want them and old policies adhered to.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeffrey Follmer
surrounded by police union members at a press conference where he labeled the
137 shots deadly shooting of two unarmed Blacks "a good shooting."
Follmer, who is White, has called the unprecedented shooting "a good shooting."

Follmer attended today's re-enactment and has been outspoken in support of the police officers involved in the shooting. The union had called for then police chief McGrath to be ousted but Jackson instead promoted him to safety director and gave his job to Williams, a sign that the ongoing tension between the Jackson administration and the police union remains steadfast. / (