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Curfew rolled back after calm night in Cincinnati

By Joe Milicia
The Associated Press
Posted April 15 2001, 1:40 PM EDT

Timothy Thomas is shown in an undated family photo (AP)

Timothy Thomas is shown in an undated family photo (AP)
See larger image

Cincinnati police officers arrest a man for a curfew violation

Cincinnati police officers arrest a man for a curfew violation
See larger image
(AP/Tony Dejak)





CINCINNATI -- The mayor rolled back the city's dusk-to-dawn curfew today in response to a calm night following the funeral of a young black man whose shooting triggered a week of unrest.

Mayor Charles Luken said the curfew will start at 11 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. to allow families more time to celebrate Easter together.

''Hopefully today can be a day of prayer. A day of peace. A day of coming together,'' Luken said.

The April 7 death of Timothy Thomas, 19, led to three days of rioting in predominantly black neighborhoods that stopped when the mayor instituted the curfew on Thursday.

Thomas, who was wanted on 14 warrants for misdemeanors and traffic violations, was unarmed when he was shot while running from police. He is the fourth black man killed by police since November in this city of 331,000 -- 43 percent of which is black.

Stephen Roach, the officer who shot Thomas, is on paid administrative leave.

Overnight Saturday, police arrested 187 people for curfew violations and got calls about shots being fired, and sporadic instances of rocks and bottles being thrown at police cruisers.

''It was almost a boring night for us,'' police Chief Thomas Streicher said.

Since Thomas' death, more than 700 people have been arrested for looting, arson, vandalism and curfew violations.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who cut short a trip to Africa to fly to Cincinnati, said today that the federal government must take a leadership role in improving relationships between city police departments and blacks, and that President Bush must get involved.

''He has a crisis in his country,'' said the Baptist minister, a leading critic of New York City police's violent confrontations with blacks. ''It's time for a national response and real change, not just telling us to quiet down.''

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters marched through the riot-scarred Over-the-Rhine neighborhood after the funeral.

Four people were injured by crowd-control bean bags shot by police and State Highway Patrol officers, but the march was otherwise peaceful. Police and the FBI were investigating why officers also shot bean bags at a group milling on streets shortly after the funeral ended.

''We don't feel completely like this is over. We recognize that in certain parts of the city tensions still are a little high,'' Luken said.

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and Keith Fangman, president of the local police union, appeared on ''Fox News Sunday'' and ABC's ''This Week With Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts'' to debate the deaths of 15 blacks by police since 1995.

Fangman said 12 deaths involved suspects who confronted police with deadly weapons. He questioned Mfume on whether police officers should have the right to use deadly force in a life-threatening situation.

''Do you believe that when an unarmed suspect is running from police, has no weapon, makes no deadly moves, should be shot down in a dark alley like a dog, like a pig, like an animal?'' Mfume said.

Lt. Col. Ron Twitty, the police department's highest ranking black official, said the racial problems that have been stirred up should be solved at the local -- not national -- level.

''The decisions about quality of life in Cincinnati should be made by our leadership in Cincinnati, our city government,'' he said.

Copyright © 2001, The Associated Press

Copyright 2001
, Sun-Sentinel Co. & South Florida Interactive, Inc.

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