The chase ended at 14600 Terrace Road in East Cleveland where 137 shots were fired and the two people inside the car were pronounced dead at the scene


CLEVELAND -- Almost a year to the day that two unarmed occupants in a car were fatally shot by 13 police officers following a pursuit that ended in East Cleveland, the family of the victims have filed a federal lawsuit against the city "...seeking damages and police reform to protect the public," according to their attorney David B. Malik.

The lawsuit, filed electronically in U.S. District Court on Thanksgiving, lists Malik and Cleveland attorneys Terry Gilbert and Gordon S. Friedman as the lead attorneys.

The 59-page document lists causes of action that include excessive force, failure to supervise, assault/battery, negligent supervision and wrongful death. The lawsuit also asks for damages and that a jury trial be held.

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Police say the incident started on West St. Clair Avenue near the Justice Center.

An officer saw the car drive past and one of the occupants appeared to have fired a shot at or in the vicinity of the officer.

Officers pursued the car as it drove off and the driver refused to stop. The chase went through Cleveland, Bratenahl and East Cleveland. The chase ended at 14600 Terrace Road where 137 shots were fired and the two people inside the car being pursued were pronounced dead at the scene.

Malik's office also released a number of X-ray photos showing the entry wounds on Williams' body. The photos can be seen in the gallery below.


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Witnesses say multiple bullet holes could be seen in the windshield of the suspects' car. Various police cruisers reportedly had gunfire-related damage as well.

On Thursday, Malik released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

"On Nov. 29, 2012, Timothy Russell and his passenger Malissa Williams traveled in a car in downtown Cleveland. A Cleveland police officer heard a sound that he claimed to be a gunshot. It was subsequently determined that the sound the officer heard was the car backfiring.

A 25-plus minute chase ensued that involved dozens of officers from the Cleveland Police Department. The chase involved 60 cruisers, a violation of the City's General Police Orders, before ending in a barrage of unnecessary gunfire. Police fired 137 shots at the vehicle after it was stopped behind Heritage middle school in East Cleveland.

Russell, 43, was shot 23 times and passenger Williams, 30, was shot 24 times. One of the officers involved in the shooting fired 49 rounds of ammunition.

In October 2013, a review of a deadly police chase led to some discipline of officers and Supervisors. The 13 officers who intentionally fired weapons have not yet been disciplined by the city. '

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said, "The system failed everyone" when he released a report about the incident in February. DeWine said police misinterpreted facts and did not follow rules.

While justice remains the primary goal of this lawsuit, David Malik, an attorney representing the family of Malissa Williams along with co-counsel, Tyrone Reed, hope to ultimately assemble a formal collaborative among stakeholders in the community, the City and the police.

The lawsuit calls for a model between the police and public similar to what the Cincinnati Police Department adopted in 2002 after years of discourse and tension with the public. The city worked with community leaders, clergy and citizens to set up guidelines that not only required the full cooperation of all parties, but sincerity in wanting to achieve sustainable results."

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