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Cleveland mayor: Director chided for tween on city burning

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CLEVELAND (AP) — The head of Cleveland's Community Relations Board has been reprimanded for sending a tweet asking whether people think the city "should be burned down," an apparent reference to concerns about the outcome of a police officer's trial in the death of two unarmed citizens.

Director Blaine Griffin, whose city agency aims to promote amicable relations among racial and cultural groups, posted the provocative Twitter message on Monday night, Mayor Frank Jackson's office said in a statement Thursday. A city spokesman said Griffin was out of town and unavailable to comment.

Griffin sent the tweet after rioting and looting broke out in Baltimore after the funeral of a man who died April 12 while in police custody.

Jackson's statement said the Community Relations Board's Twitter account had been deleted and that city employees had been reminded about Cleveland's social media policy.

"While this incident is regrettable, I know that Director Griffin is a committed member of my cabinet and has a heart for the City of Cleveland," Jackson's statement said. "It is important to me to maintain open communication with the citizens of Cleveland at this time."

The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports ( that Jackson said at a news conference Thursday he had given Griffin "a strong verbal reprimand."

City officials, including Jackson, have said Cleveland is prepared to deal with any adverse community reaction should patrolman Michael Brelo be acquitted of two counts of voluntary manslaughter. Trial testimony ended Thursday with closing arguments scheduled for Tuesday. The judge who will be deciding Brelo's case said he didn't plan to deliver his verdict until sometime after next week.

Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, were killed in a barrage of police gunfire after a high-speed chase on Nov. 29, 2012. Thirteen officers fired a total of 137 rounds at the car that night, but only Brelo was charged criminally because prosecutors said he fired his final 15-shot volley after the car had stopped and Russell and Williams were no longer a threat.

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