Despite anonymous fliers distributed around town
and a general sense of "Well, it's gonna come any day now
...", all signs point to Judge John O'Donnell holding off a bit longer on delivering the verdict in the Michael Brelo trial.
(On May 6, the judge said that he wouldn't rule anytime before May 15. See below.)
O'Donnell is now signaling that it may be "days or even weeks" before the news hits. The general idea from court officials is that bench trial verdicts — which this is — take longer than jury verdicts, as the judge doesn't have specific time set aside for deliberation; he's still managing a full caseload.
The city's peacekeeping training sessions are ongoing as officials brace for what they hope will be nothing more than "peaceful protests."
Originally published May 6
With closing statements concluding yesterday, the fate of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo is now in Judge John O'Donnell's hands. Brelo faces voluntary manslaughter charges for his role in the Nov. 29, 2012, police chase and shootout
O'Donnell says he likely won't rule until May 15 or later. Notably, Cleveland Police Week runs from May 9 to May 17; O'Donnell has intimated that he may wait until after those events to announce his verdict.
Mayor Frank Jackson is continuing to prepare
for backlash. Yesterday, he sent out a letter that conflated the civic pride and excitement of the Cavs' playoff run with the grave conversations surrounding public safety in the city. He touted police reform and the ongoing body camera deployment, and asserted that developments to come in the next few weeks/months will play major roles in the arc of Cleveland history.
"We must not allow a single decision or action to undermine our vital progress in making this a city where safety, trust and understanding prevail," the mayor wrote, seeming to employ either calculated rhetoric or slipshod misappropriation of Cleveland's progress.
The letter also referenced "anticipated rulings" in the cases of Tamir Rice and Tanisha Anderson, though the investigative agencies have refused to comment on either one for months now, so who knows what that's all about.