Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Boycott leaders protest prosecutor

Medical examiner's report on Owensby death spurs demonstration

By Kevin Aldridge kaldridge@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Black United Front and its boycott partners want two things from Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen: his resignation and another trial for the police officer they say choked an African-American man to death.

Rev. Damon Lynch III is blocked from walking further up the Hamilton County Courthouse steps during a protest Monday.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        About 50 protesters from the BUF, First Coalition for a Just Cincinnati Inc. and Concerned Citizens for Justice assembled Monday on the steps of the Hamilton County Courthouse for a demonstration.

        They called for the county prosecutor's job and a retrial for Officer Robert “Blaine” Jorg, a former Cincinnati police officer who was accused of killing Roger Owensby Jr. in November 2000.

        The BUF's demonstration came three days after a Pennsylvania medical examiner issued a report saying the cause of Mr. Owensby's death was “mechanical asphyxia due to compression of his chest by Officer Jorg, who was kneeling on his back.”

        Officer Jorg, who now works in Pierce Township, Clermont County, already stood trial for his role in the death of Mr. Owensby. He was charged with assault and involuntary manslaughter. A jury acquitted him of the assault charge, but could not reach a verdict on the involuntary manslaughter charge.

        Mr. Allen declined to retry the case because he doubted he could get a conviction based on the jury count. He could not be reached for comment Monday to say whether the coroner's report would cause him to reconsider.

        “Mike Allen is a coward. He is hiding,” said the Rev. Damon Lynch III, president of the BUF.

        “I don't care if you are black, white, red or yellow, you can see injustice,” the Rev. Mr. Lynch said. “If Roger Owensby were your son, you'd be standing where we are standing right now.”

        The Rev. Stephen Scott, a member of the First Coalition for a Just Cincinnati Inc., said that given the findings of the new coroner's report, prosecutors could indict Officer Jorg under different charges. And if getting a fair jury is a concern, Mr. Allen could petition for a change of venue, he said.


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