Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Columbus prosecutor to lead case against officer

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The chief city prosecutor in Columbus will take over the case against a Cincinnati police officer indicted for killing an unarmed black man.

        Stephen McIntosh was named Monday, three days before the first hearing in the proceedings against Officer Stephen Roach. A majority of City Council, prompted by Councilwoman Alicia Reece, urged that an outsider be given the job. African-American activists also called for it.

        The death of Timothy Thomas, 19, sparked three days of rioting, a dusk-to-dawn curfew and more than 600 arrests. It was the most violent civil unrest to hit Cincinnati since 1968.

        Mr. McIntosh has been a lawyer 17 years, the past 4 1/2 as Columbus' chief prosecutor. He manages a staff of about 100 and was formerly in private practice with a Columbus law firm. He was a deputy director for the Ohio secretary of state for five years.

        Municipal court, where he prosecutes defendants, does not produce many high-profile cases. But in the past two months, Mr. McIntosh has prosecuted a police officer on 12 counts of spreading a contagion for allegedly spreading HIV, and 10 firefighters for allegedly placing bets with a bookie while on duty.

        “He is highly respected by the defense bar and by his own staff,” said his boss, City Attorney Janet Jackson.

        Officer Roach, 27, a four-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Division, faces a charge of negligent homicide for his April 7 shooting of Mr. Thomas, who was wanted on 14 misdemeanors. The officer also is accused of obstructing official business for allegedly telling two different stories about what happened early that morning in Over-the-Rhine.

        Mr. Roach pleaded not guilty.

        The first hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday before Municipal Court Judge Ralph Winkler. Officer Roach's lawyer is Merlyn Shiverdecker.


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