Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Warning to precede grand jury result

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen has agreed to give the Cincinnati police and Hamilton County sheriff's departments 24 hours notice before announcing the results of a grand jury investigation into the Timothy Thomas shooting.

        The grand jury will begin hearing evidence in the case Thursday. Officials have been looking for ways to prevent a possible repeat of the violent unrest of April 10-12 in the event of an unpopular outcome.

        Acting Cincinnati Public Safety Director Greg Baker said Tuesday that authorities are hoping there will be no problems regardless of what the grand jury decides.

        “Mostly, this is just to put the police division on alert that the decision has been rendered,” he said.

        Mr. Allen added that police will not be informed of the grand jury's decision, only notified that deliberations are done.

        Mr. Thomas, 19, was wanted on multiple traffic and two misdemeanor warrants. He had led police on a foot chase through Over-the-Rhine April 7. Unarmed, he was fatally shot by Cincinnati Officer Stephen Roach in an alley near 13th and Republic streets.

        Mr. Baker would not say if patrols would be beefed up or whether officers would don riot gear.

        “We don't talk about what our tactical plans are. ... I guess, if anything, we have an emergency operation procedure that talks about what to do in any type of civil unrest or even natural disasters, and we'll rely on that plan in the event of some type of civil disobedience,” he said.

        New grand juries are sworn in every three weeks. This particular grand jury is in its third week.

        While it is unknown how long the grand jury will take to hear evidence, if needed it will be held over, Mr. Allen said.


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- Warning to precede grand jury result
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