While protests in Cleveland, Ohio, over the weekend remained peaceful for the most part, 71 people were arrested in skirmishes with the police after a white officer Michael Brelo was cleared in the 2012 shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, two unarmed black suspects.
The Russell family expressed disappointment over the verdict and concern about what might happen in the next racially charged case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
"I was very upset about the verdict. And I also feel that Brelo was wrong," sister Michelle Russell said.
Brelo was one of the dozens of officers who chased Russell and Williams through Cleveland in November 2012 when police thought someone in the car fired at officers. Thirteen officers fired more than 100 rounds into Russell's car. Brelo jumped on the hood and fired 15 bullets through the windshield after the car had stopped moving.
No gun was found at the scene. Prosecutors claimed Russell's car backfired, sounding like a gunshot.
"I feel that there was adrenaline flowing that night, those officers were angry, they were mad, and they went overboard," Michelle said.
The judge said he could not conclude Brelo's shots alone caused the deaths of Williams and Russell and said Brelo's use of deadly force was justified based on the probable cause that he, the other officers and the public were in imminent danger.
"That's what's happening all across America. These officers are getting off because they're using that same defense. 'I thought they were trying to shoot me,'" Michelle said.
Another police-involved shooting looms over the city. The county prosecutor is weighing whether to charge officer Timothy Loehmann in the November 2014 shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said he thinks criminal charges should not be pursued in the Rice case.
"You look at that video and you see a 5-foot-7, 191-pound person pulling a gun out of their waistband while a Cleveland police car is approaching him. What are those guys supposed to do?" Loomis said.
Police officials and community leaders said they are preparing for the worst if Loehmann, who fired the shot that killed Rice, is not charged.
"I would hope that the citizens would continue to protest in a nonviolent way, but honestly, after so long, after so much, people are starting to feel like, will we ever get justice?" Russell's sister-in-law Jackie said.
The Justice Department and the FBI announced they will review the Brelo case after the verdict was announced.