Sunday, July 29, 2001

Peace rally echoes calm following fatal police shooting

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Police officials say the peaceful nature of the 16th annual West End Peace Rally mirrored the relative calm that followed Friday's fatal police shooting of 21-year-old African-American man who fired a shotgun at a Cincinnati police officer.

        “We are here to try to stop the violence,” said event coordinator Tyrone Smith. “Unity and love is the theme.”

        The rally was started in the mid-1980s after two boys were beaten to death, said Mr. Smith, but its focus has shifted to improving police and community relations. Rain fell on the event early Saturday at Linn and Liberty streets, but nearly 100 residents mingled in the park by 4 p.m. Some played basketball and horseshoes, while others ate hotdogs and listened to music.

        A day after Friday morning's shooting of Ricky Moore by Officer Thomas Haas, who is white, there were no signs of the unrest that followed the April 7 fatal shooting of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed 19-year-old who was fleeing police.

        “The city has been not only quiet, the city including the residents, black and white, are starting to come together. If something positive can come out of tragedy, maybe this is it,” said FOP President Keith Fangman, who did not attend Saturday's rally.

        Mr. Smith said a handful of officers showed up early for the rally, but left because of the rainy weather.

        Event volunteer Mary Collins, 60, of Price Hill, said she was disappointed so few officers attended.

        “Instead of so much emphasis on stopping the violence, there should be more emphasis to creating peace,” she said.

       The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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