Thursday, November 09, 2000

Two die in incidents with police

City Council demands information

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Incidents involving Cincinnati police officers have left two people dead in as many days.

        At the same time Wednesday that officers shot to death a shoplifting suspect in Pleasant Ridge, a coroner reported that officers might have suffocated a College Hill man Tuesday night by piling on his back.

        In a heated meeting Wednesday afternoon, City Council members accused police supervisors of withholding key details about the asphyxiation death of Roger Owensby, 29.

        Councilman Paul Booth resorted to calling the coroner himself.

        “We had a young man who died in police custody,” Councilman Todd Portune said. “We got stonewalled this afternoon. ... We're entitled to straight talk.”

        In Wednesday afternoon's incident, police were called to the IGA grocery store on Montgomery Road. The man — whom police have identified only as a black male in his 30s — ran behind the store and struggled with officers.

        He then ran between two houses on Orion Avenue, where he grabbed one of the officers' guns and fired. Police returned fire, killing the man.

        Police identified the wounded officer as Timothy Pappas, and said his injuries were not life-threatening.

        Relatives of Mr. Owensby spent Wednesday trying to figure out what happened to him. His parents, Roger Sr. and Brenda, were upset about the lack of a personal visit by police or city officials.

        “I'm not going to do anything to them,” Mr. Owens by said. “I just want to hear their version of what happened to my son.”

        They arrived at University Hospital on Tuesday night to find their son in a body bag with a swollen, bleeding head, cuts on his face and bruises on his chest and back.

        Police Chief Tom Streicher said Wednesday evening he and his officers were sorry for the Owensbys' loss.

Suspect in shoplifting grabbed cop's gun
Council demands answers in choking

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