The Latest on Cleveland verdict: Justice Department to review all 'legal options'

12:50 p.m.

The Justice Department plans to "review all available legal options" after a Cleveland police officer's acquittal on state charges in the deaths of two unarmed suspects.

Officials say they will review the trial testimony and evidence to determine if "additional steps are available and appropriate" in the federal judicial system.

The department says the review is separate from its efforts to resolve a pattern of civil rights violations at the Cleveland police department. A report in December outlined a string of examples of excessive force, including officers who unnecessarily fired guns, hit suspects in the head with weapons, and punched and used Tasers on people already handcuffed.

Judge John P. O'Donnell found Officer Michael Brelo not guilty on all charges Saturday after concluding that the patrolman was justified in using lethal force. O'Donnell also said it could not be determined who fired the fatal shots.


12:15 p.m.

The lead attorney for the Cleveland police officer who was found not guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of two unarmed suspects says the prosecution spared no expense and "were ruthless."

Patrick D'Angelo calls the case a "tragedy" that was brought about by the actions of the two people who were killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire.

He says 31-year-old officer Michael Brelo risked his life the night Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams led officers on a long police chase through the city's streets.

The head of the city's police union says Brelo was held accountable through the indictment, trial and ultimate acquittal. Steve Loomis of Cleveland Patrolmen's Association says he hopes the community respects the judge and the process.


11:50 a.m.

At least 30 protesters have gathered at the Cleveland courthouse where a patrolman was acquitted in the deaths of two unarmed suspects who were killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire.

About an equal number of sheriff's deputies bearing clear shields stood in front of the courthouse shortly after the verdict as the demonstrators chanted "hands up, don't shoot."

One man standing in front of the phalanx of deputies bowed his head with hands folded, praying in silence.

The deputies have moved inside the entrance of the justice center, and the plaza in front of the building has been cordoned off.

Officer Michael Brelo faced as many as 22 years in prison had the judge convicted him on two counts of voluntary manslaughter.


11 a.m.

A Cleveland officer has been found not guilty in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire after a high-speed chase.

The judge's verdict Saturday for 31-year-old Michael Brelo (BREE'-loh) comes after a four-week bench trial on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on Nov. 29, 2012.

Thirteen officers fired at the suspects' car that night in a school parking lot. Yet only Brelo was charged criminally.

Prosecutors said he waited until the vehicle had stopped and the occupants were no longer a threat to step onto the hood and fire 15 rounds into the windshield.

Brelo could have faced 22 years in prison if convicted on both counts.