Monday, May 15, 2000

Hearings on shooting resume

10 witnesses to testify to review panel

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Public hearings resume tonight in the review of a Cincinnati police officer's nonfatal shooting of a shoplifter.

        Ten people who saw Officer Daniel Carder struggle with and shoot Corryville resident Timothy Blair are to testify before the Citizens Police Review Panel.

        This will be the first time the watchdog group has taken public testimony about the November 1998 Walnut Hills shooting.

        Discussion of Officer Carder's case coincides with criticism from inside and outside of City Hall.

        Debate over the panel's scope began when Chairman Keith Borders asked for background information on Officer Carder.

        That prompted Safety Di rector Kent Ryan's concern that the group is taking on too much of an investigative role rather than only reviewing other agencies' analyses.

        City Manager John Shirey, to whom the panel reports, also said the background request went beyond what the panel needs.

        FOP President Keith Fangman takes issue with the background request because he says it will make the panel's review take longer. He says it has taken long enough already and left Officer Carder's future in limbo.

        “This dragging out process, leaving officers twisting in the wind, is disgusting,” Mr. Fangman said.

        Mr. Shirey agreed not to make a final decision on disciplinary action until the panel completes its work. Officer Carder works nights in District 4.

        The city since has agreed to provide the panel with Officer Carder's personnel file. Mr. Borders said that will suffice and that panel members are trying to do the best review they can.

        Officer Carder and other witnesses, including Mr. Blair, will be asked next to testify, likely in two weeks, Mr. Borders said.

        Police cited Officer Carder for several errors, including shattering Mr. Blair's car window with his baton instead of ordering Mr. Blair out of the car at gunpoint.

        The city's Office of Municipal Investigations also ruled the shooting justified, but recommended discipline against the officer for tactical errors.

        The confrontation began when a private guard told Officer Carder that Mr. Blair stole a bottle of Advil.

        Mr. Blair evaded both men and Officer Carder wounded Mr. Blair as he drove off. Mr. Blair's sedan crashed into a nearby van which, in turn, struck and seriously injured a child.

        Mr. Blair eventually pleaded guilty to theft from the store and other charges.


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