Attorneys for two people who died after a police chase said a settlement of a federal lawsuit against Cleveland provides a jump start to police reform in the city, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The settlement amount is undisclosed. The lawsuit stems from the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, who died after a 2012 car chase ended in a barrage of gunfire, as officers unloaded 137 shots at Russell’s car.
The suit contended that officers used excessive force, supervisors failed to rein in officers during the chase and top administrators provided inadequate supervision and training to officers regarding the department’s policies and practices. The U.S. Justice Department is examining the use of force by officers and the policies of the division. On Nov. 29, 2012, 60-some police cruisers chased Russell and Williams for more than 20 miles to the parking lot of a school. The chase began near the Justice Center, where officers believed someone in Russell’s car fired at them. The suit says the pair did not have a gun with them during any part of the pursuit. It is believed that the noise was backfire from Russell’s car.