Sunday, April 15, 2001

Teacher hospitalized after beanbag shooting

FBI, police investigating if officers overreacted

The Cincinnati Enquirer and Associated Press

        One of four people hit by police bean-bag ammunition after the Timothy Thomas funeral Saturday was admitted to a hospital this morning with multiple injuries, her husband said.

Jahcol Lowry, 7, was hit by a police beanbag at Liberty and Elm Streets.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
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        Christine Jones, 34, a Louisville teacher, is in Jewish Hospital in Louisville with a fractured rib, a bruised lung and a bruised spleen, Tom Pearce said. She spent most of the night at the hospital, he said.

        The FBI and Cincinnati Police are investigating why officers shot beanbags at a small group of marchers — hitting Jones, two black girls ages 7 and 11 and a 50-year-old black man.

        Photographer Tom Uhlman, who was shooting pictures for Associated Press, said he saw police drive up to Liberty and Elm streets, get out of their cars and, without warning, shoot several rounds at a small, peaceful group away from the main crowd.

        “They just pulled up and starting shooting at us,” said Ms. Jones as she sobbed in an alley.

        Also hit was Jahcol Lowry, 7, who was not seriously hurt. An unidentified 11-year-old girl and a 50-year-old black man also were struck.

Officer aims at marchers with beanbag-firing shotgun.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
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        “There were probably in the neighborhood of seven (beanbag) shots fired,” said Assistant Police Chief Ronald Twitty.

        Police Chief Thomas Streicher said police were conducting an internal investigation. As many as 12 witnesses had come forward, Chief Streicher said. The officers involved had been identified but had not been interviewed.

        The FBI, which is investigating Thomas' shooting death by a police officer a week ago, also interviewed witnesses Saturday.

        The shootings threatened to break an uneasy peace until Chief Streicher arrived at the scene and helped ease the tension.

Police Chief Thomas Streicher helps diffuse the tense situation.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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        The crowd members, who appeared to be doing nothing wrong, became enraged, and immediately stopped and sat down, saying they would stop traffic for as long as it took to get an explanation.

        The crowd chanted that it wanted to see either Chief Streicher or Mayor Charlie Luken.

        “We don't have nowhere to go but where we are,” said the Rev. Damon Lynch III, who was in the crowd and whose New Prospect Baptist Church held Mr. Thomas' funeral. “We want an explanation, and we want the name of that officer who fired and we want him fired.”

        Chief Streicher did arrive and had a discussion with the Rev. Mr. Lynch and others in the crowd, answering questions from about 75 people.

Police use bean bag (right) and rubber bullet for crowd control.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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        At one point, Dale Tolbert of Clifton, a pastor at St. Mark Church in the West End, asked the chief if he could say a prayer for the city.

        Mr. Tolbert and three other black men joined hands with Chief Streicher as Mr. Tolbert prayed. After the prayer, each of the men exchanged hugs with the police chief, and the crowd soon began marching again.

        Several bottles and rocks were thrown toward police a while later, but there were no other confrontations.


Tonight's curfew pushed back to 11 p.m.
City hopes healing begins
- FBI, police investigate beanbag shootings
Mourners hear call for new Cincinnati
Sense of need sends many to service
Shooting set off tinderbox of old troubles
Feds study police practices
Stories of 15 black men killed by police since 1995
Officer Jorg's trial delayed
Fallen officers forgotten, widow says
King calls for inclusion, end to profiling
Protester Lynch becomes
Mount Adams patrons defied curfew
Vendors relocate to keep tradition
Hot dog vendor pays back hero with relish
Unrest rekindles memory
A familiar story of Easter
Notebook: Here and there