Cincinnati Cop gets 2 Misdemeanors for Killing UnArmed Black Youth

CINCINNATI – A grand jury returned two misdemeanor charges Monday against a white police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black man touched off three nights of devastating riots last month.

CINCINNATI – A grand jury returned two misdemeanor charges Monday against a white police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black man touched off three nights of devastating riots last month.

As night fell, there were scattered reports of broken windows around downtown, where some businesses were boarded up in case of new violence. About 150 people marched at police headquarters chanting “No justice, no peace” as officers on horseback and in riot gear watched nearby in a steady rain. The protesters dispersed after an hour.

Officer Stephen Roach was charged with negligent homicide and obstruction of official business exactly one month after 19-year-old Timothy Thomas was shot as he fled down an alley.

Roach, 27, has said he thought Thomas was reaching for a gun and his attorney said he planned to enter innocent pleas. If convicted of both charges, Roach would face no more than nine months in jail and could receive probation.

Thomas, being sought for 14 outstanding warrants, was the fifth black man killed in confrontations with Cincinnati police since November and the 15th
since 1985.

The shooting prompted the city’s worst racial violence since the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tenn. Dozens were injured during last month’s unrest and more than 800 arrests were made before a citywide curfew helped restore order.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said: “Killing an unarmed person is not a misdemeanor, and to say so is to cheapen the life of a black person.”

Fifteen blacks and no whites have died in confrontations with Cincinnati police in the past six years. Authorities said most of the suspects pointed
guns or shot at officers.

Two white officers are awaiting trial in one of the deaths. The coroner said Roger Owensby Jr., 29, suffocated during his Nov. 7 arrest.

Roach is accused of negligently causing Thomas’ death and with giving misleading statements to investigators.

Allen said grand jury witnesses indicated that Thomas was wearing oversize pants and fled with his hands at his waist. He refused to elaborate on how
the officer could be considered negligent.

Blacks have long complained they are harassed by Cincinnati police and their neighborhoods are neglected economically. The American Civil Liberties Union and black activists sued the city in March, accusing the police department of failing to end 30 years of police harassment of blacks, who make up 43 percent of the 331,000 residents.

Earlier Monday, the Justice Department said it has formally opened a civil rights investigation of the Cincinnati police department. An agency official
speaking on condition of anonymity said authorities would look for patterns of illegal conduct, including the use of excessive force.

[Do you have anything to say to the Cincinnati City Police about this?]

[also see related articles:

Sustained and Varied Protests in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The Right to Rebel in Cincinnati ]

Author: John Nolan

News Service: AP

URL: http://news.excite.com/news/ap/us/shooting-protest