Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were unarmed when they were shot dead
The authorities had braced themselves for trouble after the officer was cleared, which saw a small crowd of demonstrators gather outside the Cleveland courthouse, chanting “No justice, no peace”. Michael Brelo, 31, had been accused of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault over the deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell in Cleveland, Ohio. Judge John O’Donnell said that the officer acted reasonably when he shot the two suspects while standing on the bonnet of their car and firing several rounds through the windscreen.
Protests following the verdict have escalated
Mr Brelo was one of 13 Cleveland police officers who fired a total of 137 rounds at the car during the incident. Five other police supervisors have been indicted on misdemeanour dereliction of duty charges over the deaths and are due to go on trial in July. Experts said Mr Brelo acted reasonably in the belief that the suspects were shooting at him and other officers. The case follows a series of high-profile deaths of unarmed black men in confrontations with white police officers in various states across America.