Ashcroft Signs Cincinnati Police Deal, But The Economic Boycott Must Continue

By Noble Johns

CINCINNATI (BNW) — U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft signed an agreement with the city Friday to overhaul police operations and curtail excessive use of force, ending a yearlong probe that began after a white officer shot and killed an unarmed Back man. If Blacks in Cincinnati buy into this trick, I got a bridge for sell at a good deal.

The economic boycott must continue because an all white jury let the white cops off for murder! Do you think the Black community in Cincinnati is stupid?

City officials estimate it will cost $12 million over five years to comply with the agreement and a companion settlement of a lawsuit that accused police of harassing Blacks.

The shooting touched off the worst rioting the city had seen in decades.

The amicable Justice Department settlement is being hailed as a landmark resolution far different from confrontational ones in other cities. Not true! It’s just a dirty trick to get Black to stop the economic boycott that has brought the city to its knees.

``I am gratified by the breadth of support for today's agreements and hope the spirit of cooperation and reconciliation that led to these agreements can be replicated elsewhere,'' Ashcroft said. Right! And what Black in his right mind believes a racist like our U.S. Attorney General?

Ashcroft signed the agreement with Mayor Charlie Luken, who also signed a proposed settlement of a year-old lawsuit that accused police of racial profiling. That deal must be approved by U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott, who will hold a hearing June 6.

``Cincinnati wants to get better,'' Luken told Ashcroft. ``Cincinnati wants to take advantage of the best practices and procedures.''

In the Justice Department agreement, Cincinnati accepted the agency's recommendations to tighten policies governing use of force, enhance training and improve record keeping. The city also commits to creating an independent agency to investigate citizen complaints of police brutality.

Among the recommendations is a prohibition on chokeholds, except where deadly force is authorized, and limiting the use of chemical spray to situations in which such force is needed to protect the officer, the subject or someone else from harm.

Of most importance to the city, the agreement will not result in the Justice Department taking the city to court, as happened in many other cities in the 1990s.

The shooting of Timothy Thomas, a 19-year-old black man who was fleeing police on misdemeanor charges, touched off three nights of rioting. Officer Stephen Roach was later acquitted of charges in the April 7, 2001, shooting.

Police departments nationwide were watching the Cincinnati case closely to see how the Bush administration would approach investigations of municipal police agencies.

During the Clinton administration, the Justice Department had a record of aggressively going after allegations of police violations of civil rights, taking city after city to court.

Cincinnati went through a much smoother resolution — and the agreement has been heralded by Republicans and Democrats in the City Council as well as Black activists and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Fraternal Order of Police in Cincinnati did not accept the Justice Department recommendations because it was not allowed to help shape the agreement, said its lawyer, Donald Hardin. But the union approved the lawsuit settlement last week.

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