Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Two indicted in Clifton 'mini riot'

Jeff Ruby's son one of teens to face felony charges

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Two University of Cincinnati students, including the teenage son of Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby, were indicted Tuesday on felony charges of attempted arson and aggravated rioting stemming from a Clifton block party that turned violent last month.

Brandon Ruby, 19, and his roommate, Joseph Himmelstein, 19, face two years in state prison for allegedly trying to set fire to an overturned car during the second annual Cinco de Mayo party on Stratford Avenue that police described as a "mini riot."

A Hamilton County grand jury also indicted Robert Mathews, 18, on misdemeanor charges of rioting and criminal damaging, bringing the total number of those so far charged in riot to nine as police and prosecutors promised to find and punish those responsible.

"There will be no tolerance for such behavior," Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said Tuesday.

Jeff Ruby this week said that he would not make any excuses for his son's behavior, but added that Brandon has denied any wrongdoing.

"Whatever Brandon did, that's Brandon's trouble. He's a big boy and he shouldn't get treated any better or worse than anyone else," he said. "He gets what he deserves."

Police identified suspects in the riot from at least two different videos shot by Stratford Avenue residents. Witnesses said the block party attracts many students from the University of Cincinnati who rent homes in the area. About 11:30 p.m. on May 3, they said things spun out control when party-goers set fire to a cardboard box in the street.

They watched as a car was overturned on top of the flames.

University of Cincinnati President Joseph Steger has said he would seek to expel any student found guilty of a felony.

On May 19, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted two university students along with four others for taking part in the riot. Both students face felony charges.

Brandon Ruby, who spent eight hours in jail last month on an unrelated charge of disturbing the peace, is a freshman at the university studying pre-business administration. Himmelstein is also enrolled at the university. Student records could not be located for Mathews.


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