Cleveland (dpa) – A US police officer was cleared of all charges in the 2012 shooting of two unarmed black suspects, sparking riots late Saturday that saw at least three arrests, police said.
The protests in Cleveland broke out minutes after Michael Brelo, a white police officer, was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault.
Prosecutors said Brelo, 31, jumped onto the front of a suspects’ car after a 30-kilometre chase and fired 15 shots through the windshield. Occupants Timothy Russel, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, were killed.
Demonstrators shouted “No justice – no peace” and “Black lives matter” as they marched through the streets.
Three people were arrested on riot charges after an object was thrown through a restaurant window, police tweeted.
A news crew for broadcaster CNN said at least 15 people were seen being loaded into vans by police in riot gear.
The judge said it could not be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the shots fired by Brelo caused the deaths of the victims.
A total of 137 shots were fired by police at the scene. No other officer was charged. Brelo was facing more than 20 years in prison in case of a guiltly verdict.
The United States has seen several high-profile cases of violence by police against black suspects in the past year.
In Cleveland, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot killed in November by police after he waved a toy gun that fired plastic pellets. Litigation in that case was still pending.