Cincinnati Police Officer Indicted
CINCINNATI – Misdemeanor charges filed against a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man brought outrage from the victim's mother but mostly peaceful protests in a city scarred by racial tension.
One month after the slaying that sparked the city's worst rioting in three decades, a grand jury indicted Officer Stephen Roach of negligent homicide and obstructing official business.
``I feel it was a slap on the wrist,'' said the victim's mother, Angela Leisure. ``I don't feel like justice was served. I feel it was not severe enough for the severity of what he did. He took a life. Negligence — that doesn't cut it for me.''
If convicted of both charges, Roach could face no more than nine months in jail or receive probation. The panel could have returned indictments ranging from murder to no charges at all.
``I was expecting exactly what we got — or less,'' said the Rev. Damon Lynch, one of the city's most prominent black leaders, who criticized the grand jury's decision.
Roach, 27, was charged with fatally shooting Timothy Thomas, 19, as he fled down an alley. The officer has said he thought Thomas was reaching for a gun.
Thomas was being sought for 14 outstanding warrants, most for traffic offenses. He was the fifth black man killed in confrontations with Cincinnati police since November and the 15th since 1995.
``No justice, no peace,'' chanted a crowd of about 150 protesters who marched peacefully outside the Cincinnati police headquarters for about an hour Monday.
Hours after the indictment was announced, a thunderstorm moved through the city and streets were quiet in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, the scene of the April 7 shooting.
Police said a few store windows were broken by demonstrators, but no arrests were made.
The racially mixed grand jury had heard from 20 witnesses, including Thomas' mother, investigators and witnesses to the shooting, county Prosecutor Michael Allen said.