Friday, June 08, 2001

Lynch, Fangman unite in goal

Activist, police union head tackle violence in black neighborhoods

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The minister who has recently led Cincinnati's black activists and the head of the city's police union will meet with a national expert to discuss violence in black neighborhoods.

        The Rev. Damon Lynch III, president of Cincinnati Black United Front, and Keith Fangman, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, have disagreed frequently about police-community relations.

        But they'll come together to talk in the next couple of weeks about what's causing the city's recent big upswing in shootings in black neighborhoods.

        Between April 1 and May 28, 33 nonfatal shootings were reported by Cincinnati police, compared with six during the same period in 2000. Five months into 2001, there were 20 homicides; for all of 2000 there were 29.

        Virtually all the shootings have occurred in black neighborhoods, mostly Over-the-Rhine.

        “I look at this as an opportunity to work together on an issue that affects an entire community,” Mr. Fangman said.

        The Rev. Mr. Lynch is setting up their conversation with the Rev. Eugene Rivers, a Boston leader noted for mobilizing churches to work with police to combat street gangs.

        Mr. Fangman has suggested Mayor Charlie Luken start a commission to study violence in black neighborhoods. The mayor declined.

        “We've had some very strong differences of opinion on issues,” Mr. Fangman said of himself and the Rev. Mr. Lynch. “But not on this one.”

        The Rev. Mr. Lynch could not be reached for comment.


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