Thursday, March 01, 2001

Ethnic threats lead to 2 arrests

Warrants seek 2 more in Hamilton

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A monthlong, FBI-aided investigation of ethnic intimidation and vandalism in the city's north end has concluded with the arrests of two juveniles and arrest warrants for two adults, police said.

        Two white males, ages 16 and 17, each face two counts of ethnic intimidation and two counts of criminal damaging. They are in the custody of their parents awaiting Friday appearances in juvenile court.

        The suspects are accused of acts of vandalism, including spray-painting racial slurs on property that groups of Hispanics had rented, police Sgt. Jim Malone said. Tires were also slashed and rocks and/or bricks thrown through windows.

        “The city of Hamilton will not tolerate these types of criminal behavior,” Police Chief Neil Ferdelman said. “The Hamilton Police Department has shown humanity and understanding to those groups and individuals which were targeted.”

        While police say they want to keep a lid on any racial tensions, they also say the problem might not be as bad as originally portrayed.

        The two arrested youths have a history of similar offenses against “whoever they have a particular problem with at the time,” including other whites, Sgt. Malone said.

        Further, police say their investigation showed certain publicized allegations about incidents near Heaton and Sixth streets were unfounded.

        For instance, police learned that one household of Hispanics who moved out of town apparently had reasons other than the vandalism for leaving town, Sgt. Malone said.


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