Riots in Cincinnati.
April 10, 2001 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Riots in Cincinnati. Cincinnati city police have this odd habit of killing unarmed young black males. In November, two men were killed. One was shot, another was crushed or suffocated while already in police custody and, according to witnesses, not resisting. Several weeks later a policeman shot and killed a twelve year old out joy-riding. Saturday night an officer chased down and shot a nineteen year old he 'thought he recognized' as someone with outstanding traffic warrants. Every time someone is killed Cincinnati city council promises to look into the matter but does nothing. Today someone decided to take action, even if it was in a destructive and politically impotent form of action.
posted by krakedhalo (21 comments total)
Are things like this common in the bigger cities around the country? I certainly hope not.
posted by krakedhalo at 7:49 PM on April 10, 2001

Cincinnati is a little better, in that the crime rate here is actually a lot lower, then, say, someplace like Detroit where multiple murders on one day are the norm rather than the exception.

And these cases aren't necessarily without reason. For instance, from what I remember, the boy was armed, was twelve, in a car, and was trying to run the policeman over with the car. If he was armed with nothing, he was armed with that car, trying to run the officer down. The officer also died in that incident, drug by the car. The only reason the car stopped was because the officer shot the boy, in self defense. But the officer later died at the hospital.

This most recent incident, the suspect ran from the officer. Then he reached to his waistband like he was pulling for a gun. First, you don't run from a police officer. Second, you don't make it look like you are pulling out a gun. You keep your hands out, in the air, where the police officer can see it.

Defending what the policeman did is not necessarily valid either. But, given the circumstances, there is reasoning there.

The police force in this city needs a serious refresher is what they need to do, and the public needs the same thing. But of course, people being people, pass judgement so quickly.

But from a city that brought us Issue 2, feel free to discriminate against sexual orientation. From a city within the county (with support of the city) that runs after Larry Flynt like Simon Leis is Boss Hog... well... I don't expect much any more.
posted by benjh at 8:15 PM on April 10, 2001

Oh... and...

"Windows in major stores were broken and newspaper racks and garbage cans were thrown into the streets. A hot-dog cart was overturned."

You call this a riot? Cars being overturned and torched, looting, attacks. That is a riot. Cincinnatians just don't know how to riot.
posted by benjh at 8:20 PM on April 10, 2001

Regardless of the particulars of the cases, if the public demands an investigation, it is the city's duty to investigate. Too many city halls are afraid of pissing off their police force.
posted by jpoulos at 8:24 PM on April 10, 2001

Bwahaha. Now I get to tweak my dad, who still lives in Ohio, about his riots, and how lame they were.
posted by kindall at 8:54 PM on April 10, 2001

Riot? What riot? Is anyone really surprised at the ready use of sensational language in for-profit media? The violence & rioting reported as justification for police crackdown on WTO protests in Seattle and reacted to around the world in free speech stifling policy, consisted of a few broken corporate windows and signs in a march of hundreds of thousands of citizens! And these are not isolated incidents. When you have to read between the lines of "objective news" crossreferenced from multiple sources to feel like you have grasped some truth, it's no wonder we're all frustrated and apathetic.

This is my wallet, this is my gun; this is for fighting, this is for fun...
posted by roboto at 8:56 PM on April 10, 2001

Let's see how many hours it will take Jesse Jackson to jump on the bandwagon. (if he hasn't already)
posted by Witold at 9:32 PM on April 10, 2001

and how lame they were.

They're starting to get a bit better at it.

Let's see how many hours it will take Jesse Jackson to jump on the bandwagon.

Let's see ... a free trip to China, or a free trip to Cincinnati. I wonder which Jesse will choose.
posted by aaron at 9:46 PM on April 10, 2001

I think he's too busy smarting after that wholly unexpected White House snub over his attempt to "smooth things over" with China. Talk about making a bad situation worse.
posted by evixir at 9:51 PM on April 10, 2001

Uh... roboto, does the word "riot" appear in krakedhalo's link at all? I don't see it. Other sources refer to the situation in Cincinnati as a riot(which it was), but if anybody's being sensational, you are. Multiple perspectives make us frustrated and apathetic? What?
posted by techgnollogic at 10:43 PM on April 10, 2001

benjh, here's hoping I'm never put in front of a jury with you on it.

he reached to his waistband like he was pulling for a gun.

According to the cop that shot him!

Cincinatti Police Chief Tom Streicher said:
“It's inappropriate for anybody to make a call about what happened.”

First, you don't run from a police officer.

Oh no? What if you're consistently targetted and/or victimized by a racist-infested police force? Other Cincinatti cops are currently under indictment for MURDERING black men. And 12 traffic violations?!? Don't you think he'd start driving like Aunt Bea after 4 or 5? I think you'd run too if you were in his shoes.

Second, you don't make it look like you are pulling out a gun. You keep your hands out, in the air, where the police officer can see it.

As if that's a guarantee of safety. And if any one of us fails to follow these rules, we are summarily sentenced to death on the spot, eh? There's only been 1 shooting of Cincinatti cops in the last 14 years, and that was in the process of arresting a felony suspect in his home. Cops don't get to go around capping people 'just to be sure'. If you're gonna shoot someone you'd better be damn sure they present a credible threat. This cop wasn't (there was no gun) and he should suffer the consequences just like the rest of us would.
posted by brantstrand at 11:20 PM on April 10, 2001

Personally, I would like to see how many white people cops shoot every year. Never hear of those cases. Of course you would have to adjust for quite a few factors to get a decent comparison, but still...

The bottom line is that cops are not that well trained, or educated. I live in DC, which may be a little below average compared to other police departments, but I bet the same holds true across the nation.
posted by Witold at 11:32 PM on April 10, 2001

I am by no means excusing the police officer. But I do see both sides, so I am trying to stay neutral.

But on a side note, and hate me or not for saying this, but... if you are dealing with a police force as bigoted as Cincinnati's, and you are a minority, it is probably better not to look like you are pulling for a gun. But again, that is what the cop said.

Witold, absolutely right. The police need a lot more training in order to handle situations properly, which they don't.
posted by benjh at 4:42 AM on April 11, 2001

And if this riot (or "riot") ultimately results in the City getting some kind of task force together which implements some changes, be they sensitivity training, changes in procedure, charges or better community outreach, then this little 'form of action' will have been neither 'destructive' nor 'politically impotent.'

I'm not saying riots are good. I am saying that good may yet come from this riot.
posted by chicobangs at 5:37 AM on April 11, 2001

The problem with deciphering the mess is its relation to the boy who cried wolf. Every shooting is treated like a racist cop killing for the joy of it by certain vocal elements of the community.

Of the ones mentioned above the suffocation death and the current death are the ones that seem to be questionable (if not obviously terrible mistakes). But by constantly raising a raucous I think a large number of people turn a death ear.

The vandalism going on now has the same effect but on a much larger scale. Images shown on the news seem to suggest there are peaceful demonstration being led by ministers, the NAACP, and other leaders.

On the other end there are a bunch of thugs trashing storefronts, drinking beer, & hoping around on cars like it's some kind of party.
posted by Mick at 5:45 AM on April 11, 2001

chicobangs, the city already has these things in place, the juvenile nature of the riots (as opposed to the demonstration) will have a negative effect.

The fun comes if the action moves out of the entertainment district and towards the business distract, then Uncle Carl will call out the Colombian death squads!
posted by Mick at 5:54 AM on April 11, 2001

One disturbing image from the "riot" that I saw on
TeeVee this morning was of a lone African-American woman in a dress standing with her arms at her sides, facing two riot police, who, after screaming at her to back down, sprayed her in the face.

The other disturbing images were of two caucasion drivers bleeding, their automobile windows smashed out.
posted by mecran01 at 6:05 AM on April 11, 2001

Mick, I kind of figured they did have these communications mechanisms in place, but for some reason, things have broken down to the point where neither side is listening to the other anymore.

So to that end, if this incident gets both the community leaders (whoever they may be) and the police outreach organizations (whoever they may be) to figure out a way between them to get a real dialogue going, then maybe there's a slim chance of there actually being some good to come out of this.

Otherwise, it's just another active front in the race war, and pointing fingers is meaningless now.
posted by chicobangs at 8:18 AM on April 11, 2001

Good article talking with the slain man's brother
posted by Mick at 8:20 AM on April 11, 2001

This will teach me to open my mouth about them not rioting good enough.

Cincinnati has declared a state of emergency, and instituted a curfew of 8PM to 6AM for everyone in the city, the only exception being to go to and from work. An officer was shot last night. It is getting nuts in Cincinnati.
posted by benjh at 1:50 PM on April 12, 2001

The city "is very much at risk right now". I don't think it's going to stop, and this is somewhat more important than what the definition of "sorry" is...
posted by owillis at 11:23 PM on April 12, 2001

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