Today, Judge O’Donnell of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas rendered a pre-ordained verdict in favor of state-sanctioned murder on the Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend. In 2012, after a 22 mile chase, Cleveland police riddled a Chevy Malibu with 137 bullets, killing the two unarmed occupants inside of it, who happened to be a black man and woman.
There were the usual excuses from the police. They thought they had heard gunshots fired from the car. They thought they had seen the female passenger brandishing a gun. They claimed that when the fleeing vehicle was finally cornered in a school parking lot, that the driver was using the vehicle as a weapon.
Officer Michael Brelo, an Iraq War veteran who happens to be white, jumped up on the hood of the vehicle and fired at least 13 shots through the windshield, claiming that he was so in fear of his life that he had to do it, and that the “firefight” was worse than being mortar-shelled in Iraq.
Yeah, right. So. We are supposed to believe that someone scared for his life is going to expose himself at point-blank range by jumping on the friggin’ hood of a car of someone shooting at one with a gun? What kind of idiot does that?
Much to the surprise and dismay of the Cleveland Police Department, District Attorney Timothy McGinty actually prosecuted Brelo for voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault. Brelo opted for a judge-only trial over the prosecution’s objections, but that’s anyone’s right under Ohio law.
I knew what the verdict would be when it was withheld for over three weeks and then announced on the Saturday morning of a holiday weekend. Judge O’Donnell took an hour–I know, I watched it live–to claim that first, he couldn’t find Brelo guilty of voluntary manslaughter because not all of the fatal shots could have possibly been fired from his gun.
That’s true, but this means that if enough cops fire enough bullets at an unarmed suspect, then whoever gets charged gets off scot-free.
I had hoped that Brelo would at least get a wrist-slap sentence for felonious assault. But NOOOOO.….the eminent Judge O’Donnell concluded that because Brelo perceived he was in danger, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that the use of deadly force was a positively cool thing for the cop to do. He was reasonable, you see.
Most of the hour-long decision consisted of the judge pointing to a pair of dummies with the trajectories of multiple deadly bullet wounds stuck into them with foot-long pins, and discussing when and where from the shots were probably fired. The verdict itself took less than a minute.
It’s just been announced that several bus routes and roads into downtown Cleveland have been closed by the police, no doubt an attempt to quell the almost inevitable riot. National Guard units have been reported downtown.
Of course, no one, not the authorities, not the families of the victims, not the media, not the Black Misleadership Class, and not the pseudo-left, is talking about the real reason for the spate of militarized police violence in this country that has been escalating ever since September 11, 2001. And that is that the ruling financial aristocracy of these United States is preparing the police to repress an increasingly restive working and middle class that has seen its standard of living visibly decline so that the top 1%, and top 1/10th of 1%(Hillary, that’s YOU) can plunder an ever-increasing share of the national wealth.
Only a broad-based working class movement that doesn’t focus on race can change this. Unfortunately, I don’t see too much of that around.