Saturday, March 23, 2002

Evendale skips special meeting


Report raised new concerns about Roach

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        EVENDALE — The village clerk said Friday there would be no special council meeting to discuss the Cincinnati Police internal affairs report blasting Officer Stephen Roach.

Roach
Roach
        Any public discussion of the report that said Evendale's newly hired officer lied while a member of the Cincinnati Police Department responding to questions about his actions in the fatal shooting of Timothy Thomas last April 7 will wait until the next regular Evendale council meeting April 4.

        Also Friday, Officer Roach's attorney, Merlyn Shiverdecker, blasted the report as “propaganda” and a “hatchet job.”

        “To see them do this to this kid is just unconscionable,” Mr. Shiverdecker said. The report “was a cut-and-paste Madison-Avenue presentation of the prosecutor's opening statement and the criminal trial, which was totally refuted by the trial itself,” he said.

        Councilman Phil Schneider asked Mayor Douglas Lohmeier for the session this week after reading the report about former Cincinnati Officer Roach's fatal shooting of a fleeing, unarmed man, which sparked last April's riots.

        In January, Officer Roach quit the Cincinnati force and now works in Evendale. Despite the controversy over the hiring and calls for a referendum to overturn the decision, village officials have defended Officer Roach and say most residents support him, too.

        But this week Mr. Schneider said he had new concerns after reading the report, which says Officer Roach violated police procedures by running with his finger on the trigger of his weapon and then lied to investigators about it.

        Mayor Lohmeier could not be reached Friday. But Mr. Schneider said Friday that he still believes a meeting should be held as soon as possible.

        Mr. Shiverdecker questioned why the report didn't mention expert testimony given at Officer Roach's trial, which Judge Ralph E. Winkler said sealed the acquittal of the officer.

        Two experts at trial dispelled the prosecutor's contention that Officer Roach didn't follow his police training, then lied about it when he fired on Timothy Thomas, Mr. Shiverdecker said. Officer Roach shot Mr. Thomas after he emerged from a corner at the end of a dark alley in Over-the-Rhine.

        Though Mr. Thomas did not have a gun, one expert contended it was difficult for Officer Roach to distinguish the man's empty hand from a handgun. “Whoever authored that report and sold the chief that bill of goods is the one the chief ought to be talking about for dishonestly. Honesty means you give a full report, not a cut-and-paste propaganda,” Mr. Shiverdecker said. He said he gave a copy to Officer Roach but declined to say what his reaction was.

        “How would you feel,” he said, “if you got dumped on like that by a bunch of half-truths and misleading statements and innuendos?”'

       



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