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Cleveland cop acquitted in deadly barrage faces assault charge

CLEVELAND -- A Cleveland officer found not guilty in the fatal shooting of two unarmed people in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor assault, stemming from a fight with his twin brother four days after his acquittal.

Criminal complaints filed in a suburban Cleveland municipal court said 31-year-old Michael Brelo and brother Mark had visible injuries after their fight May 27 in Bay Village. Arrest warrants were issued for the twins Wednesday, although they were expected to turn themselves in later in the day.

Michael Brelo was acquitted by a judge May 23 of voluntary manslaughter charges in the November 2012 shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after a high-speed chase. He was accused of firing the final 15 shots of the barrage while standing on the hood of Russell's car.

The judge said that while prosecutors couldn't prove Michael Brelo fired the fatal rounds, it didn't matter because all 49 shots Brelo fired that night were legally justified given that he was trying to end a threat to his and other officers' lives.

Brelo remains on an unpaid suspension and is expected to face administrative discipline. A message was left with the Cleveland Police Department on Wednesday seeking comment on the latest charge.

His acquittal prompted numerous peaceful protests throughout Cleveland. More than 70 people were arrested the evening of May 23 after failing to heed police orders to disburse while gathering near popular downtown entertainment districts.

Court records show the officer's brother, Mark Brelo, also was cited for disorderly conduct May 27. A ticket posted on the Rocky River Municipal Court website said that Mark Brelo had a "high level of impairment" because of alcohol and that he was knocking on people's doors around 4:30 a.m. while wearing only cargo shorts and carrying one shoe.

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