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Six Cleveland cops indicted for hail of bullets that killed two unarmed car chase suspects

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Six Cleveland police officers were indicted on Friday on charges related to a November 2012 car chase that left two suspects dead after officers fired 137 times upon them after their car came to a halt in a schoolyard , according to WSLS10.

Officer Michael Brelo has been charged with two counts of manslaughter after prosecutors claimed he stood on the hood of the suspects’ car and fired at least 15 shots through the windshield. Five police supervisors were charged with dereliction of duty for failing to control the chase.

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Previously 64 of the 104 officers, including twelve supervisors, involved in the chase were disciplined for violations of department rules. One supervisor was fired and two were demoted.

Driver Timothy Russell was shot 23 times. Passenger Malissa Williams was shot 24 times. Police officers claimed the suspects fired upon them, however no gun was found on them or in their vehicle.

Cuyohoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling stating police can’t fire upon suspects after a public safety threat has ended.

“This was now a stop-and-shoot – no longer a chase-and-shoot,” McGinty said. “The law does not allow for a stop-and-shoot.”

McGinty said  other officers on the scene had stopped firing after the chase ended.

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The chase, which lasted 23 minutes and covered twenty miles through Cleveland at speeds of up to 110 mph, involved five dozen cruisers and 104 of the 277 Cleveland officers on duty that evening.

According to prosecutors, Brelo fired 49 shots. None of the other 12 officers who fired shots were indicted.

Brelo, who served in Iraq as a Marine,  stated he feared for his life and the life of his partner, Officer Cynthia Moore.

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“I’ve never been so afraid in my life,” he told investigators. “I thought my partner and I would be shot and that we were going to be killed.”

“I was just — even during Iraq, I never fired my weapon,”  Brelo added.” I’ve never been so afraid in my life, and I just couldn’t understand why the suspects were still moving and still shooting at us.”

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The five supervisors indicted on misdemeanor dereliction of duty charges were Lt. Paul Wilson, Sgt. Patricia Coleman, Sgt. Randolph Dailey, Sgt. Michael Donegan and Sgt. Jason Edens.

The police union has defended the officers’ actions and said the driver was trying to ram them.

Capt. Brian Betley, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he was disappointed in the grand jury’s findings.

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Watch the video below of Officer Michael Brelo being interviewed by investigators from WKYC:


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So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire

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In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump lawyer Purpura busted by MSNBC for lying on the Senate floor during impeachment trial

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Moments after the end of the Saturday's Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, MSNBC host Brian Williams pointed out that one of Donald Trump's attorney's lied on the Senate floor about the president's Ukraine scandal-- and he had a clip handy to prove it.

Sharing footage of attorney Mike Purpura stating the higher-ups in Ukraine were unaware that Donald Trump was withholding aid until after the government helped him by announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, the MSNBC host called the attorney out.

To make his point that Pupura was being untruthful, Williams then showed a clip of Defense Department official Laura Cooper, who testified that Ukrainians were asking about the delay on the day of the Trump phone call that was the starting point of the impeachment trial.

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Any normal president could find some defense attorneys who aren’t clowns and grifters

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Donald Trump's penchant for telling reporters about his crimes doesn't leave his legal defense team a lot to work with. In the first week of his Senate trial, they've pounded the desk and rended their garments over how mean their Democrats opponents are toward their client. But the worst is yet to come--WaPo reports that during the next phase of the proceedings, Trump's legal team will offer "a scorched-earth defense of President Trump in the impeachment trial, mounting a politically charged case aimed more at swaying American voters than GOP senators — and damaging Trump’s possible 2020 opponent, Joe Biden."

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