Tuesday, May 16, 2000

3 saw cop shoot - but not same way

1998 incident under review by citizen panel

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's citizen panel reviewing a police officer's 1998 shooting of a shoplifter listened to witness testimony Monday night, but found more questions than answers.

        Three people who said they saw the struggle between Officer Daniel Carder and suspect Timothy Blair voluntarily told their stories to panel members.

        The shooting took place Nov. 6, 1998, outside the Kroger store in Walnut Hills, where Mr. Blair was suspected of having stolen an over-the-counter painkiller.

        Officer Carder has said his arm became entangled in Mr. Blair's coat during the struggle and he was dragged as Mr. Blair tried to drive away. After Mr. Blair was shot, his foot hit the gas and the car slammed into a van, which then jumped onto a sidewalk and pinned a 5-year-old boy underneath. The boy suffered permanent injuries.

        The witnesses asked that they be allowed to testify behind closed doors. The panel later recapped the information in public, pointing out differences and inconsistencies.

        One said he saw Mr. Blair toss away a weapon — something other witnesses did not report. A woman said she heard two sets of gunshots, not one, and that she didn't realize at the time the car had hit anything else.

        Seven other invited witnesses did not show up. Some of them will be asked back for the panel's next meeting June 5. Officer Carder and Mr. Blair also will be asked to testify that day.

        Mr. Blair pleaded guilty to theft and other charges. Officer Carder remains on duty. City officials have agreed to wait on his discipline, if any, until the panel makes its recommendations.


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