The victims' families are seeking compensation in civil suits and justice in the courts
CLEVELAND -- It's a marathon case. And the victims' families, the officers involved and the whole community want closure.
And that may soon be one step closer when a Cuyahoga County grand jury decides if any officers will face criminal charges for their role in the November 2012 chaotic chase that ended with unarmed suspects Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams dying in a hail of gunfire.
"Four hundred eighty-three days. ... This investigation has taken far too long," said lawyer Michael Nelson, co-chair of the NAACP's Criminal Justice Committee.
The victims' families are seeking compensation in civil suits and justice in the courts.
But what is that justice?
Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said, " It's my hope there's no indictments. ... It's still based on the perceptions of those officers what went on that night."
Nelson said, "You should have some supervisors who failed to supervise and you should have at least one officer, the one who was on top of the car firing into dead bodies indicted."
The grand jury focus does seem to be on that officer.
He's Michael Brelo, an Iraq war veteran. He did leap on the hood of the suspects' car and fired 49 shots through the windshield, reloading his gun.
He told BCI investigators, "It was the scariest thing in my life. I thought they were shooting at us."
But any other bullets flying apparently came from other officers surrounding the car.
We're told at least two officers involved in the shooting received immunity to testify.
It's an emotional case, but Nelson says much of the emotion has dissipated with time.
Big crowds turned out for public hearings immediately after the shootings. And a hard-core group of protesters holds regular demonstrations.
But Nelson says, "The larger community, especially the political leaders have turned their attention to the next issue (voting rights). There's a difference between Cleveland and Los Angeles and Chicago. We seem to be receptive to injustice. ... We seem to lose interest if it doesn't happen quickly."
But the city is staying in touch with the community to make sure things remain calm, whatever and whenever the grand jury reports.
Spokeswoman Maureen Harper said, "Mayor (Frank) Jackson, the Community Relations Board and the Division of Police continue to stay in contact with the community, including residents, the police community relations committees, civil rights groups and local ministers as we go forward."
Recently in town, Attorney General Mike DeWine declined to comment on the grand jury's deliberations.
"It would be wrong for me to express an opinion. The grand jury's the one hearing the evidence," he said.
But he stuck by his original conclusion saying, "There was a systemic failure in the Police Department."
People will soon be debating whether the justice system failed or succeeded in handling this emotional case.
Web extra: Interview with Michael Nelson, co-chair of the NAACP's Criminal Justice Committee: