137 Shots (2021) Review: Backlash of Law and Order as a Raging Storm

137 Shots is a Netflix documentary about the 2012 police chase and shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. The documentary debuts on 15 December on Netflix.

137 Shots review does not contain any spoilers

137 Shots documents the heart-wrenching deaths of the African Americans

Director, producer, writer and Cleveland native Michael Milano discusses his documentary 137 Shots, which chronicles a high-speed police chase and the shooting of two unarmed black people by 13 Cleveland police officers in November 2012.

It also covers the trial of Officer Michael Brelo, who fired 49 of the 137 shots into Russell’s Chevy Malibu and was acquitted on charges of manslaughter. And it explores the response by local activists who demanded accountability for the Cleveland Police Department.

137 Shots (2021) Review: Backlash of Law and Order as a Raging Storm

It was just a perfect storm of things that happened, starting with the chase, then ending with a high-profile acquittal.

Who are Russell and Williams? What happened to them that led to their tragic deaths? And why did it happen?

Those questions, and a dozen others, are at the heart of 137 Shots, which chronicles the shooting itself, in which police officers fired 137 shots into the vehicle of Russell and Williams in the parking lot of an East Cleveland middle school after a high-speed crosstown chase.

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The documentary 137 Shots give a riveting account of the killing

The trailer shows reenactments of video shot by bystanders showing officers firing at their car from all angles as it comes to a stop and audio recordings from calls made by people witnessing the events.

The 137 Shots Netflix documentary is an essential piece of recent history for Cleveland, and it’s a story that needs to be told. But the filmmakers never dig deep enough and leave it on the surface.

137 Shots (2021) Review: Backlash of Law and Order as a Raging Storm

The documentary covers everything from the chase itself to the trial of Michael Brelo, one of the officers involved. It manages to follow every step of the way without getting bogged down in any one thing, even as it leaves unanswered questions about what happened.

137 Shots reveals the traumatic reality of racial inequality in America

To the uninitiated, 137 Shots might seem like a rehash of Tamir Rice and the other police shootings that have rocked Cleveland in recent years. It is not. The documentary is a stark reminder of how wrong things went in the Cleveland neighbourhood’s east side.

The documentary is an in-depth examination of a controversial incident that made national headlines and exposed the strained relationship between law enforcement and the community they serve.

137 Shots (2021) Review: Backlash of Law and Order as a Raging Storm

In 137 Shots, viewers are privy to hours of footage from dashboard cameras and helicopters that tracked the chase in 2012 through downtown streets crowded with rush hour traffic. The documentary also includes previously unseen audio recordings from officers involved in the pursuit and shooting, as well as court testimony and interviews with people who witnessed it or were impacted by it.

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137 Shots is a thought-provoking study of police-community tension

The film also includes commentary from some key players, including Brelo himself, who was found not guilty after his 2014 trial. More than 100 people were arrested during protests that followed the acquittal, and there was a series of police-involved shootings over the following weeks.

137 Shots explores how the case affected Cleveland’s criminal justice system and how it continues to shape public perception. The tension between city officials and citizens has escalated since then.

137 Shots (2021) Review: Backlash of Law and Order as a Raging Storm

The Department of Justice found that Cleveland police regularly used excessive force against civilians, including mentally ill people, in addition to this incident.

It is also tough to listen to the audio from the police radio transmissions from that night that was replayed throughout the documentary.

137 Shots hits home the truth-no law and order

It’s been nine years since the police chase ended with 137 bullets fired into the car of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Still, the documentary 137 Shots is a powerful reminder of how quickly innocent lives can be taken by those sworn to protect.

It’s a stark and sobering portrayal of a national problem. And it’s essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand the current state of race relations in America, as well as the ongoing battle for police accountability.

137 Shots (2021) Review: Backlash of Law and Order as a Raging Storm

The documentary takes a very straightforward approach to the events of that night. There are no mind-blowing revelations, no shocking twists and turns, just pure emotion.

Stream It or Skip It?

You can judge if you think the police response was justified or not. It is easy to see both points of view.

It’s an emotional rollercoaster as we hear from the families of the two victims, who recount how their loved ones were taken from them in a hail of gunfire by police officers.

137 Shots is streaming on Netflix.

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137 Shots chronicles a high-speed police chase and the shooting of two unarmed black people by 13 Cleveland police officers in 2012.


  1. An amazing article about the Police in the USA, disgusting really, and my thoughts about American injustice just keeps getting, in my view lower.
    137 shots is a great documentary and appears very factual, but in most other countries the policemen would have been tried for Murder, not manslaughter as he was excessive in his actions, he was not scared nor did he show a Psychotic tendency.
    He knew they were already critically injured and went for the coup de-grace.
    Scared and jumping on the hood, that’s totally laughable
    The documentry is well worth watching, but be warned if you live outside the USA you will find the police and gun laws there disturbing.
    I am on the outside of the USA looking in and reading or watching about the laws finding them totally corruptible and changeable in the eyes of Prosecutors and Judges alike, land of the Free, I think not


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