Friday, September 28, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 27


Racial profiling should be defeated

Mary Carradine

On April 7 in Cincinnati, a white police officer named Stephen Roach shot and killed an unarmed black teenager wanted on non-violent misdemeanors
such as traffic violations.

Because of rioting, the mayor of the city had to impose a citywide 8 p.m. curfew on his constituents. Dozens of people were injured and more than 800
arrests were made during the worst racial unrest the city had seen since the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The facts of the case are absolutely revolting. Officer Roach was being tried for negligent homicide and obstruction of official business.

The homicide charge is obvious he was being tried for murdering unarmed Timothy Thomas. But why was he being charged with obstruction? Because
Officer Roach told the authorities three glossy yet different versions of his story before sticking to one account of the night's happenings.

Initially, he "had no idea why" the gun went off, but it did. Story number two includes Thomas startling Officer Roach from around a corner, causing him to
fire. All of his stories were false and proven to be so by police cruiser cameras.

When Officer Roach realized he was caught on tape, he ended up telling the truth: he was chasing Thomas down a dark alley, with his finger on the trigger,
and fatally shot him. Other police officers had also been chasing Thomas. They kept their weapons holstered and testified they did not feel the need to draw
their guns on Thomas.

The case was tried before Hamilton County Judge Ralph Winkler. Officer Roach specifically requested a trial with no jury.

This was a very strategic move indeed, as Judge Winkler just so happens to be a white man as well. After a seven-day trial, Judge Winkler acquitted Officer
Roach of both counts. He believed that Officer Roach was justified in killing Thomas, and that the two incorrect versions of the story did not significantly
affect the investigation.

How could this happen? How could justice be so obviously attacked in this manner? Nothing could bring Thomas back to life, but at least justice could be

Thomas was the 15th Black man to be killed by Cincinnati police since 1995. I guess I had fleeting hopes that racial profiling toward blacks would subside
during our national crisis. Unfortunately, it is alive and well in Cincinnati.

How many black people like Thomas have to die before our nation can defeat racial profiling?

I suppose the black population of Cincinnati will continue to dwindle. At this rate, the police force will be able to just kill all of Cincinnati's black citizens, and
why not? They obviously face no legal resistance or punishment.

Carradine, a senior computer engineering 
technology major, can be reached at

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