Former Cleveland police patrolman Michael Brelo will not get his job back, an arbitrator ruled in an opinion released Tuesday. However, five other officers involved in the 2012 police chase and shooting will return to the job.
William C. Heekin, the arbitrator working with the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, found that the city met its burden in establishing that the suspension actions taken against Officer Scott Sistek, Officer Cynthia More, Officer Randy Patrick, Officer Paul Box, Detective William Salupo, and Detective Michael Rinkus were for just cause. Therefore, the grievances filed on behalf of those officers were denied.
Heekin also found that that the city met its burden to establish that patrolman Michael Brelo's termination was for just cause.
However, according to the decision document, the arbitrator found that the city did not meet its burden to establish that the termination actions taken against Officer Wilfredo Diaz, Officer Michael Farley, Officer Brian Sabolik, Detective Erin O’Donnell and Detective Christopher Ereg were for a just cause. Therefore, the city must immediately reinstate the officers. Back pay for the time since their termination was denied.
The 13 officers fired a total of 137 shots into Timothy Russell's Chevy Malibu in November 2012. Russell and his passenger, Malissa WIlliams, were killed after leading police on a 24-minute high-speed chase.
Brelo was acquitted of two counts of voluntary manslaughter for his role in the incident.
In a statement Tuesday, Mayor Frank Jackson said:
We believe that the City’s decision to terminate the other five officers was justified and should have been upheld. We acknowledge that the arbitrator concluded that those officers committed serious policy violations; however, we are reviewing our options regarding the officers whose terminations were not upheld.