[Hpn] Looks like the gang in blue gets away with murder again!
Thu, 27 Sep 2001 15:23:38 -0400
Thursday, September 27, 2001
Cincinnati officer acquitted in killing that sparked riots
By The Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) – A white police officer was acquitted Wednesday in the
shooting death of an unarmed black man, a killing that sparked the city’s
worst racial unrest in three decades.
Protesters gathered outside the courthouse and at a City Hall meeting after
the verdict, shouting and chanting, “No justice, no peace.” Police said the
city remained otherwise quiet.
Officer Stephen Roach had been charged with negligent homicide and
obstructing official business after he shot Timothy Thomas, 19, in a dark
alley April 7.
Hamilton County Municipal Judge Ralph E. Winkler ruled on the case after
hearing the trial without a jury, at Roach’s request. The officer did not
“This shooting was a split-second reaction to a very dangerous situation
created by Timothy Thomas,” Winkler said. “Police Officer Roach’s action was
reasonable on his part, based on ... the information he had at the time in
that dark Cincinnati alley.”
He said Roach’s record was unblemished, while Thomas’ was not, and noted
that Thomas failed to respond to an order to show his hands. Thomas had been
wanted on a variety of warrants.
Mayor Charlie Luken called for calm after the verdict while placing
additional police on duty.
The Rev. Damon Lynch, a black leader and minister in the Over-the-Rhine
neighborhood where Thomas was shot, called the verdict “an atrocity” but
said, “We’ll urge people to be peaceful, as we have been doing for 10
Roach, 27, a city officer since 1997, had faced up to nine months in jail if
convicted of both charges. He still faces departmental administrative
proceedings under which he could face penalties including dismissal, police
In three nights of rioting that followed the shooting, dozens of people were
injured and more than 800 were arrested before a temporary citywide curfew
ended the disturbance. The city had not seen such racial unrest since the
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.
About 60 people gathered outside the courthouse after the verdict. A City
Council meeting was briefly interrupted by the chanting of about 50
The verdicts show “that the city is not willing to put a police officer in
jail for killing a man unjustifiably,” said activist Kabaka Oba. “We believe
Timothy Thomas was killed unjustifiably.”
Eric Green, 32, a construction worker, forecast violence: “Meet force with
force, meet fire with fire. There’s nothing else to do to get our message
Roach glanced down while the verdicts were read, and his wife, Erin, sobbed
into her hands.
“Unfortunately, this is a tragedy for everybody involved,” Roach said later
outside the courtroom, holding hands with his wife. “I would give anything
to change the outcome of what happened that night, but unfortunately I can’
Portions © 2001, Telegraph Publishing Company, Nashua, New Hampshire