Washington: A police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, was acquitted by a judge for the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, both black, after police chased the victims' car on November 2012.
After a four-week trial, Judge John P. O'Donnell on Saturday handed down the verdict in the case against white policeman Michael Brelo, 31, for the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.
On Novvember 29, 2012, several Cleveland police officers heard the noise coming from Russell's car as it drove by - the sound was probably a backfire but they thought it was a gunshot and set off in pursuit of it.
Involved in the chase were more than 100 cops who fired a total of 137 shots at the car that Russell, 43, and Williams, 30, were driving in, according to the investigation.
Brelo was one of those policemen and, according to prosecutors in the case, when the vehicle had been stopped and was surrounded, he jumped on the hood and fired at least another 15 shots through the windshield at the two suspects, who were unarmed.
After learning of his acquittal, Brelo broke into tears before the judge, and soon afterwards dozens of people began to gather in the streets of Cleveland to protest the verdict.
The US Justice Department and the FBI later announced that they will review the case.
The head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Vanita Gupta, said in a communique that "we will now review the testimony and evidence presented in the state trial."
"We will continue our assessment, review all available legal options," she said.