Monday, October 01, 2001

Over-the-Rhine has quiet time


Patrols can be reduced

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati police today may begin to scale back their overstaffing of Over-the-Rhine and officers' 12-hour shifts, as relative peace continued there this weekend.

        Sunday marked the second straight day in which no offenses were directly attributed to unrest from the acquittal last week of Officer Stephen Roach, police Lt. Kurt Byrd said.

        The motive for a bottle-throwing incident involving a bus Sunday was unclear, he said.

        Otherwise, people sat peacefully in Washington Park, chatting in the autumn breeze. Babies in strollers squinted from the Sunday afternoon sun. For more than an hour, no police sirens were heard.

        “It's maybe been even slower than usual,” Lt. Byrd said. “With the large police presence, even on the most minor radio runs, there were officers in the area.”

        Ernest Kimble, 43, of Over-the-Rhine, agreed, though he said he has been mugged since moving from Kennedy Heights three months ago. “It's quieting,” he said, “as far as the violence.”

        Saturday, no unrest-related arrests were made. On Friday, there were five misdemeanors, but only three — a stolen bike and two disorderly conduct charges — were thought connected to the Wednesday acquittal in the April shooting death of unarmed 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, who was fleeing police when Officer Roach shot him.

        “What happened the first time (April riots) was just a shock to the system,” said Leoa Myasha, 28, said as she and more than a dozen relatives, including 11 children, enjoyed their weekly Sunday gathering at Washington Park.

        She lives in Covington but grew up in Over-the-Rhine.

        Ms. Myasha and others interviewed Sunday attributed the peaceful week to three things: Officer Roach's exoneration was expected; the desire to maintain peace; and the unifying effect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

        “With what's going on in the world,” Rico Bates, 22, of Over-the-Rhine said, “I think people cooled down.”

        “As long as police stay within their boundaries, things will be OK,” he said. “And I think they will.”

       



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