Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Opponents of Roach stand fast in Evendale

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        EVENDALE — A group of 75 village residents Tuesday night said they will continue their opposition to the council's decision to hire former Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach.

        “We will not stop this fight now,” said Dr. Thomas Shockley Jr. as he and other residents gathered outside the municipal building.

        The group said the mayor and council knew the decision would be controversial, but still chose to use a procedure that speeded the hiring of Officer Roach. Village officials have said all hires are made using an emergency ordinance.

        Two hundred residents have signed a petition requesting a communitywide forum on the hiring, he said.

        “This bad decision impacts on our children, our schools, our churches and our neighboring communities,” Dr. Shockley said.

        He said the community's harmony has been “ripped apart by the careless and insensitive action of our leaders.”

        The statement came a day after Mayor Doug Lohmeier announced that Officer Roach will start his job as an Evendale police officer in less than a week.

        The officer, whose deadly shooting of an unarmed black man sparked the worst riots Cincinnati has seen in decades, remains employed by the Cincinnati Police Deparment until Monday.

        He was acquitted in September on misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and obstructing official business. Officer Roach said he feared for his life when he shot Timothy Thomas in an alley as the young man was fleeing police.

        Evendale Councilwoman Catherine Hartman called Officer Roach a man of high personal and professional integrity who should not be treated the way he has been.

        “I was talking to someone in the community today, and they said, "We should be ashamed for bringing a blemish on the community of Evendale,'” she said in a phone interview.

        “I said, "There are many more residents who believe we've put five stars after the name Evendale because we chose to hire the most qualified candidate and didn't let a vocal minority sway us from doing the right thing.'”


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