Thursday, February 01, 2001

A racial slur could mean jail




By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A police cruiser's videotape showing a suspect shouting racially charged remarks is evidence that the man, who is black, committed ethnic intimidation against a white police officer, Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Brenda Cox said Wednesday.

        But Thomas Jefferson Sanders' attorney, Jeff Meadows, said that's not necessarily so. While Mr. Sanders' remarks might have been offensive, Mr. Meadows argued that his client was merely exercising his right to free speech.

        “These were not fighting words,” Mr. Meadows said.

        A jury is expected to continue hearing testimony in the case today in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Mr. Sanders, 40, of Fairfield, is charged with domestic violence, two counts of assault on police, a count of aggravated menacing and a count of ethnic intimidation.

        The charges stem from a series of events on Nov. 11.

        Police arrived at Mr. Sanders' home in the Camelot Apartments after his wife, Kim, told a dispatcher her husband had threatened to kill her.

        Mr. Sanders was asleep when officers arrived but soon became enraged, Ms. Cox said. He lost control and threw objects at police, she said, adding officers had to use chemical spray to subdue him.

        While an officer was taking Mr. Sanders to jail, they said, he was verbally abusive and used a racial slur.

       



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