Tags: Cincinnati | Officer | Indicted | Misdemeanor | Shooting

Cincinnati Officer Indicted on Misdemeanor in Shooting

Monday, 07 May 2001 12:00 AM

Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen said at a news conference that the two-count indictment charged Roach with negligent homicide by means of a deadly weapon and obstruction of official business. A grand jury heard testimony from 20 witnesses, including Thomas' mother and the coroner who conducted the autopsy.

The prosecutor described the presentation as thorough and fair and said he would do everything in his power to secure a through investigation.

Concerned that the grand jury decision might be perceived as too lenient by some, Allen stressed that he thought it made the right decision.

"I know that emotions are running high, but the case against Officer Roach cannot be based on emotion … please withhold your judgment until the trial," said Allen.

On April 7, an unarmed black man, 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, was killed by a single shot to the chest. Roach has said he thought the man was reaching for a weapon in his waistband. A week of riots followed the shooting, forcing the city to declare a curfew for several days.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the Justice Department opened a "patterns and practices" probe of the Cincinnati Police Department to see if it engaged in racial discrimination.

In a statement released Monday, Attorney General John Ashcroft said after reviewing a department report, "I have decided to open a pattern or practice investigation of the Cincinnati Police Department." The Justice Department "will enforce the law to protect Americans' civil rights," he said.

Earlier, officials from the Justice Department's civil rights division were in Cincinnati concentrating on two issues: the shooting and the use of "bean bag" shotgun rounds by the police against mourners at Thomas' funeral.

Ashcroft's statement indicates a much broader investigation is under way on how the police department interacts with minorities.

After thanking Cincinnati officials "for helping to bring calm to the city over the last several weeks," Ashcroft noted that he ordered civil rights attorneys to meet with those officials "to conduct a review of the practices, procedures and training of the Cincinnati Police Department and to advise me on steps we should take to best help the city."

Ashcroft also said the Justice Department would provide the city and police "with expert technical assistance on how to best reform their policing policies."

"The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of Cincinnati Police Department's policies and practices," Ashcroft said.

"Our focus will be on assisting the city to solve its problems and rebuild trust among the citizens of Cincinnati …. The Department of Justice will enforce the law to protect Americans' civil rights, and also will work cooperatively with the city to institute policing reforms as quickly as possible."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen said at a news conference that the two-count indictment charged Roach with negligent homicide by means of a deadly weapon and obstruction of official business. A grand jury heard testimony from 20 witnesses, including Thomas' mother...
Cincinnati,Officer,Indicted,Misdemeanor,Shooting
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2001-00-07
Monday, 07 May 2001 12:00 AM
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