- Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - The city of Cleveland denies allegations of discrimination made in a lawsuit filed by officers involved in a deadly 2012 shooting that left two people dead.

Nine Cleveland officers involved in the shooting after a high-speed chase through downtown Cleveland sued the city and various police officials in U.S. District Court in November. The eight white officers and one Hispanic officer who filed the lawsuit claim the city’s police department has a history of treating nonblack officers who shoot blacks more harshly than black officers who shoot blacks.

The city’s response filed Wednesday says the city doesn’t discriminate against non-black officers and that it had “a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason” for all of its actions involving the officers.

The officers who fired their weapons were put on three days’ administrative leave and ordered to report to restricted duty for what the officers’ lawsuit says was for a period “substantially longer than that which had been meted out to similarly situated African-American officers.”

Dozens of officers were involved in the November 2012 high-speed chase of a vehicle which ended with two unarmed people dying in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire. Thirteen officers fired at the vehicle carrying 43-year-old driver Timothy Russell and 30-year-old passenger Malissa Williams.

Russell Relatives of Russell and Williams will split a $3 million settlement of their lawsuit against the city.

The officers’ lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that the city and other defendants discriminated against them based on race and deprived them of their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law.

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