April 7, 2001: The Day Cincinnati Was Forced to Change

April 7, 2001 is a day that has marked a changing point for Cincinnati and its people. On that day a white Cincinnati police officer shot, and killed, what was later discovered to be an unarmed 19-year-old black male. The shooting was the fifteenth deadly shooting of a black man, under the age of 40, since February 1995. Of those fifteen, three of the men did not possess any weapons. During that same time, four Cincinnati police officers were killed or wounded.

The series of deadly interactions, between white police officers and black men, was heightened by the fact that none of the police officers were found guilty of any civil or criminal offenses. Following the death of Timothy Thomas, Cincinnati’s black community erupted into civil unrest for four days. Commonly known as the Cincinnati Race Riots, the civil unrest made international headlines and resulted in a hugely damaging economic boycott of the city.

Since that time much has changed. Federal investigators worked within the Cincinnati Police Department to ensure that changes were being made in the way the department conducted its business. In recent years the investigators determined that Cincinnati’s police force had made significant progress, and that its improved practices should serve as a national model of success.

Over-the-Rhine, the epicenter of the civil unrest, is in the midst of one of the most dramatic urban transformations in the United States. Hundreds of new residents, dozens of new businesses, dramatically reduced crime and improved public infrastructure now define the historic neighborhood. More specifically, the dark alley where Timothy Thomas was shot and killed now houses upscale condominiums and a new streetscape.

Since April 2001, the city has also become a national center for racial dialog and civil rights issues. Since Cincinnati’s race riots and ensuing economic boycott the National Urban League, NAACP, National Baptist, Council for Black Studies, League of United Latin American Citizens and Civil Rights Game have all hosted, or will host, their national conventions in Cincinnati. Furthermore, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened its doors on the banks of the Ohio River in 2004.

I personally remember April 2001. I remember hearing the police and fire sirens emanating from Western Hills Plaza. I remember the graphic scenes on television of protesters being shot with bean bag and rubber bullets. I remember the first night rioting broke out, and I remember the curfews implemented all over the region to prevent further unrest. I also remember just how close Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken was to calling in the National Guard.

At the time I was at the very beginning of a new stage in my life where I fell in love with Cincinnati. The riots were a cold splash of water to my face. I was hopeful for the new riverfront development and other developments proposed around the city. And with the riots, it all came crashing down.

The progress of Main Street in Over-the-Rhine was squashed overnight, the city got a negative reputation throughout the world, and the boycott epitomized by Bill Cosby’s comedy show cancellation seemed like the proverbial straw that would break Cincinnati’s back. Honestly, I was angry and did not understand what was happening in Cincinnati, but I feel now that it was for the best.

Cincinnati’s racial tensions of the late 90’s are not unique to the Queen City. And in fact, I believe that the tensions that boiled over into four days of unrest could very well happen in any number of cities around the United States.

The simple reality is that the structural segregation and disenfranchisement of America’s black population is not ancient history like so many would like to believe. Economic, political and social inequities still very often fall along racial lines in the United States, and those cities with a large white and black population shift have serious issues still to overcome.

The United States often has a bad perception around the rest of the world. Sometimes this is a reasonable perception, but other times it is not. While I feel that the United States has a long way to progress in many areas, I also feel that we air our dirty laundry so-to-speak. The airing of this dirty laundry allows us to make progress on complicated issues, and thus allows the U.S. to remain a beacon of freedom and hope for so many around the world and within our own borders.

What happened in Cincinnati in April 2001, I believe, was a similar action of airing dirty laundry. Since that time I feel that Cincinnati has made racial progress. Cincinnatians collectively received a splash of cold water to the face in April 2001, and we had to engage in difficult conversations and make difficult decisions to move on. Some of those conversations and decisions still need to be made, and some will never fully be resolved. But Cincinnati is now on a path to enlightenment that it would not have been without the civil unrest of April 2001 and the economic boycotts that followed.

What do you think…have race relations improved in Cincinnati since 2001? Were you around for the race riots, and if so, what was your experience? If you were not in Cincinnati at that time, what impression did you have of the city during the turmoil?

Cincinnati Police Officer photograph by Ronny Salerno.

  • J

    Most of the men who were killed by police were trying to kill the officer, or someone else. Only a couple of those men’s cases deserved a second look. The 15 number is used for impact by people who want to legitimize the rioters–blacks who trashed white-owned businesses and beat white motorists. None of these people had anything to do with Timothy Thomas’s death, they were attacked by a bunch of black racists. In certain parts of Cincinnati blacks are brought up to hate and distrust police, and this goes back to the race riots in Avondale in the 60s and earlier. I’m tired of police being blamed for doing their jobs and enforcing the law. Why does black culture still glorify crime and violence? Timothy Thomas ran from police because he had several warrents on him, this is not someone that should be honored! If anyone should be honored it’s the police for doing a stand up job handling the riots without any deaths, and working to improve race relations. Your move black Cincinnatians.

  • seriously?

    @Randy: For the best???? I can’t really put it any better so allow me to paraphrase the genius of that iPhone4 vs. Evo video on YouTube. I think I need to go chop off my own dick now. I don’t need need my children growing up in a world populated by dipshits like you.

  • http://urbancincy.com/author/randysimes Randy A. Simes

    @J: I do agree that the police have made great strides since 2001, but I also do think that those strides highlight the fact that there were serious issues with the way the police force dealt with the community.

    @seriously?: I do not understand what your comment is trying to say. Would you please clarify in some sort of a coherent manner?

  • J

    Randy, my point is that the problem isn’t, and wasn’t, just with police, but with Cincinnati’s black community as well. However, for reasons dealing with what I assume are “white guilt” some people will not call the black population out on its problems, or talk about what the black rioters did. Instead all people want to talk about is Timothy Thomas. BS! The spirit of MLK was not in Cincinnati 10 years ago! Sorry, rioting is not an acceptable way to solve problems! These scars will haunt Cincinnati for decades.

    I think “seriously” has an issue with you saying the riots were “for the best.”

  • leif

    Randy, i bristled at the same choice of words. For the many white people who now live in OTR, it probably seems best. But I don’t think that many black residents in Evanston, where I live, would say that things have developed “for the best.”

    As the immensely ignorant comments provided by the coward “J” prove: race relationships go way beyond riots. The riots were a symptom of a deeper problem, which is that black Americans are still trying to overcome 200+ years of discriminatory practices. I saw the same thing in L.A. during the Rodney King riots, and again in Oakland, when the BART police shot an unarmed black teenager.

    And J, I would point out that in certain parts of Cincinnati, white people are brought up to hate and distrust police or any authority figure. Blaming black people for the glorification of violence is ignorant and unfair– most of the movies/tv shows we see include violence, and I can guarantee you they’re directed by and produced by white people. The bigger problem is that white people, such as yourself, happily associate black people with a “glorification of crime and violence.” I can tell you that none of my black neighbors enjoys or glorifies violence– they want our neighborhood to be safe, just like I do.

    I’m grateful that we have a police force to enforce the law, but i wish that police members everywhere would live up to their duty: “To protect and serve.” No one is above reproach or investigation, including when their ethics are questionable. ESPECIALLY SO if they are the ones enforcing ethics.

  • http://urbancincy.com/author/randysimes Randy A. Simes

    @J: You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I in no way condoned the violent and damaging behavior of those that looted, set fire to, and hurt Cincinnati in April 2001. What my point is that the events of April 2001 forced Cincinnati to have a discussion about race relations that would probably not have happened without these events.

    As I said in the post, I was furious at the time. The physical damage caused by the riots was bad. The economic hit caused by the ensuing boycott may have been even worse. And the hit Cincinnati took in terms of perception is something that the city is still trying to overcome a decade later.

    But with all of that said, you don’t hear of events, like those leading up to the riots, happening anymore. Instead we’re talking about economic inclusion, social/environmental justice and other more complicated issues. Cincinnati still has work to do, but I’m glad these violent tensions between black youth and white police officers do not seem to exist anymore. That is good for Cincinnati’s black community, the region’s police force and the city as a whole.

  • J

    Leif, I’m a coward? Is this discussion going to that level? Yes, it’s true white people make violent movies and so forth, I did not say that whites didn’t. I know there are many blacks who respect the law. That doesn’t change other facts, however. Should I mention the number of black criminals? Stats on fatherless families? It’s all been said before, and I will win that argument. It’s sad that the black community cops out by blaming their problems on white racists. All I ask is that the black community, at some level, own up to its problems and stop blaming everything on someone else. We live in an age where the President is black, and the same blame game is getting old.

    Of course, it isn’t just the blacks. There are plenty of whites that feel the need to reopen old wounds, reminding us of slaves and discriminations passed, thereby making it impossible for anyone to move on.

  • Alex

    I agree with Randy in that there are many issues that have yet to be addressed. The riots were not only about police officers. That was just the last straw. There are so many inequities in the city that must be gotten rid of. Focusing only on police and civilian relations is good but that is more of a symptom of many systematic issues that have plagued our city for generations.

  • http://urbancincy.com/author/randysimes Randy A. Simes

    @J: I don’t know. I think simply ignoring history and past actions is not a healthy way to “move on.” Moving on in such a way is just sweeping issues under the rug. What makes me love America is that we have the will to discuss these tough issues whereas other places around the world just like to “move on.”

    As a result, it is no coincidence that America is the most diverse and open place on Earth. We must discuss this history and learn from it. What is the problem with having these kinds of discussions?

  • Juan De Bonia

    Randy – if what you are saying is that the police learned a lesson and are doing a better job policing then I agree. If you are arguing that this riot helped race relations among the citizens of Cincinnati then you are extremely naïve (see J).

    I don’t remember ever hearing any “discussion about race relations that would probably not have happened without these events”. Was that meeting held out at Western Hills Plaza?

    There are black idiots and there are white idiots and never the twain shall meet.

  • http://urbancincy.com/author/randysimes Randy A. Simes

    Maybe everyone here is right. We can’t even seem to be able to have a respectful discussion about a significant moment in Cincinnati’s history without immediately digressing to name calling.

  • http://urbancincy.com/author/randysimes Randy A. Simes

    @Juan De Bonia: Yes, I was saying that the Cincinnati Police force has improved since 2001, but I also believe that it’s a two-way street. It appears that much of the black community is also working with police better than before (don’t take my word for it though: http://www.thecincinnatiherald.com/news/2011-04-02/News/How_far_weve_come_since_2001.html).

    And to my point regarding discussions about race relations, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now if it weren’t for those turmoil-filled days in 2001. Had the economic boycott not happened the business community might not have changed (remember when several restaurants closed up shop when a large number of African Americans came to Cincinnati for a festival?).

    How about the discussions about race at the Freedom Center, the discussions during the last two Civil Rights Games and talks of economic inclusion? If you think Cincinnati would have been having these discussions without the issue being forced in 2001, then we clearly have a different perspective on American history, and the history of race in Cincinnati.

  • seriously?

    @Randy: The problem with having discussions like these is that people as naive as you get in the mix. I’m unsure where to start as nearly everything you say is grossly out of touch. There’s nothing to respect about what you are saying. Do yourself a favor and mark April 7, 2011 as the day you learned to be quiet.

  • http://urbancincy.com/author/randysimes Randy A. Simes

    Thanks for the constructive comments “seriously?”. Considering that you don’t know me, and are hiding behind an anonymous Internet name, I doubt that you can truly make these claims.

    What are your thoughts? Do you think Cincinnati has learned anything from events leading up to the civil unrest that took place in 2001? Were you around when those events took place. If so, what were your experiences? If not, how did you perceive Cincinnati and what was taking place? Has Cincinnati made progress in terms of race relations since 2001…or was there anything that needed to be learned?

    Feel free to contribute something to the conversation anytime you would like, but if all you’re going to do is lob insults at others then please quit wasting everyone’s time.

  • J

    Yes, it’s true that I’m still angry about the riots. Many people still are. The worst part is that the shooting of Timothy Thomas was an accident, not even an intentional murder. Yet he’s been elevated to Cincinnati’s Rodney King by some, and used as an excuse to loot and beat people. Honestly, I think if it wasn’t TT it would’ve been over something else. Someday it may happen again.

    Dunno, to me it’s all very clear, but apparently I’m the oddball.

  • Juan De Bonia

    Randy – A lot can be said about that article but let’s just stay high level…I completely agree that the police are working with the black community and that the black community is working with the police. It’s definitely a 2 way street and that’s good. That says nothing about race relations between the citizenry. The police are doing a better job policing. As a matter of fact…one of the adjustments the department made was to increase the number of black officers in OTR. Less crime translates into a more attractive place to open a business and live.

    Freedom Center, Civil Rights Games, etc. I would argue that these are discussions and arrangements among politicians, businessmen, and other leadership that do not reflect at all the true sentiments of Joe Cincinnati (black or white). It’s symbolic posturing that in some cases breeds pure silent resentment rather than open discussion.

    Lastly…you can’t seriously be using your discussion board as an example of racial progress….

  • Kevin Wright

    Randy, I think your interpretation of history is correct in that the city is better off in many ways because of the riots. Many of the positive aspects of our city would probably not exist had the riots not occured, and conversations like this one would be ‘off limits.’

    However others are right as well; the city still has some obvious racial tensions (as does almost any city). I tend to think of it less in terms of race, and more in terms of socio-economic status. The fact is that there are a lot of people living in extreme poverty in our city (white & black) and they appear to have no real voice at City Hall. The current administration seems to focus solely on development (casino, the banks, etc.) While I support this approach and think it is very much needed, I believe the focus on new development is an indicator to some that the city is still igonoring the over-arching problem – Poverty. At some point we are going to be forced to start dealing with this issue.
    BTW, I didn’t live in Cincinnati in 2001 and I knew nothing about the riots until I got here in 2006. This may be becasue I was in college and not following the news at that time, or because the ‘national perception’ issue is a bit overblown.

  • http://tboondoggle.tumblr.com TBoondoggle

    @Juan De Bonia – What can be used as an example of the ever-elusive racial progress?

    Joe Cincinnati is not going to go to a conference about race relations on a Saturday afternoon. If a group of intellectuals met to discuss it in Cincinnati, you would say it doesn’t reflect Joe Cincinnati. How can we discuss race relations in Cincinnati that is acceptable to you? I’m just not sure what you would say racial progress is. So far you have said what it is not…

  • http://urbancincy.com/author/randysimes Randy A. Simes

    @Juan De Bonia: You asked where there was any discussion regarding race relations in Cincinnati that was sparked by the events that took place in 2001. So I answered your question and provided, in part, this very comment section as evidence that those events sparked discussions about race relations that would not have happened otherwise.

  • Juan De Bonia

    Tboon – if I could answer that definitively then there would be a lot less for people to argue about in America.

    Your point about Joe Cincinnati is spot-on and that was my point exactly.

    Randy wrote that the riot was “for the best” because it resulted more robust racial harmony as evidenced by more effective police and a nice new museum. I think that’s just silly.

    You can discuss race relations all you want – don’t worry about what’s acceptable to me. I’m just part of the discussion.

    Randy – pardon me…you are correct. This discussion board is a beacon of harmonious two-way racial discussion that even Nelson Mandela would be proud of!

  • Zach

    Randall, I’ll elaborate a bit on my twitter comment about how I believe Cincinnati has actually gone down hill racially since 2001. I think that some of your commenters bring up good points similar to the direction that I’m heading. The riots weren’t simply caused by the police or the black community or the white community. They were as another commenter said, the last straw in a very sad series of events that led some in the black community to believe they had to take some sort of action, but admittedly lacked any better avenue to take out their frustrations with the city, community members and police.

    Present day though, I don’t see much of a change aside from the gentrification of OTR. Sure, the police haven’t been shooting unarmed black men at nearly the rate, which has been the one positive thing to come from the riots and aftermath. Defining and discussing race relations in a community is difficult because there are few, if any, reliable metrics to gauge progress with. However, after living in OTR for years between riot era and the heavy development of the Gateway area, I can’t say that I have seen much, if any improvement in relations between community members.

    If anything else, I would say that the riots polarized neighborhoods in the city, and particularly gave the urban core a bad reputation with locals who don’t frequent the area that will probably never be overcome. Seeing the rebuilding of the urban center firsthand over the years I lived north of Liberty, I can say that the while the riots were never in the front of my mind personally, the effects can still be seen in the community.

    The lingering effects of the riots can still be felt through tense race relations within communities and seen in the homogenous communities throughout the city. If Cincinnati had made any real progress toward racial integration in the past decade, you would see more diversity within groups trying to make progress in the city and within communities as a whole. As a young white man, I think that it’s great that so many people are moving into a once terrifying neighborhood to some; however young white professionals flocking to the area don’t do anything to improve race relations, if anything it makes them more tense. As more upwardly economically mobile people move into the urban core, long-time residents and the poor that once relied on the neighborhood for social services perceive to be under attack and that in my mind is the biggest hinderance to racial peace in Cincinnati.

    The urban core has no doubt become safer and less hostile, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the city’s white minority population has made any great strides in racial relations.

    Note for context: I’m speaking predominately of the downtown and OTR areas, lived in the latter for several years and was active with non-profit social services in the area. I also wrote extensively about the gentrification of OTR for my thesis and have interviewed many current/former/future residents of the area.

  • Ronny from the Westside

    @ J from above, you do realize that the shooting of Mr. Thomas wasn’t accidental, correct? Officer Roach violated CPD policy by pursuing the suspect (who was wanted on misdemeanors no less), with his hand on the trigger of his gun. That’s far from an accident. Shooting at another human being is always an intentional process and the lack of prosecution of officer Roach is largely what defines the shooting of Mr. Thomas.

    Rule: don’t pull your pants up when running from the police, or an “accident” will happen, right?

  • J

    I think Zach nailed it. Any real progress, outside of policing, is superficial. OTR is the only black neighborhood that’s benefited from the riots, and not necessarily benefited the impoverished blacks. Certainly Avondale, Walnut Hills, etc have not benefitted. The riots hurt the city and created more resentment between blacks and whites IMO. I think in order to understand the effects of the 2001 riots you have to look at what the 1967 and 68 riots did to Cincinnati. It hurt the reputation of the city and drove away people from the city, thus further alienating impoverished blacks. Race riots may help the rioters get what they want in the short term, and certainly create superficial racial harmony, but in the long run race riots have proven to be devastating to race relations and to the rioters themselves. Perhaps a more open fisted MLK approach would have worked better, but this is the city that rioted in 67 one day after MLK preached nonviolence in the same neighborhood.

  • J

    Ronny, you are the type of person I’ve been talking about. That you for coming forward and showing I’m not completely full of it.

  • http://zacharyschunn.blogspot.com Zachary Schunn

    Interesting discussion. I think I like this point the best:

    “There are black idiots and there are white idiots and never the twain shall meet.”

    Although there is probably a more politically and academically correct way to phrase this, the underlying point is true. Racism is still alive and well in America, but fortunately true racism has been relegated to the fringes.

    The issue, though, is that tension still exists. Zach put the OTR situation very eloquently above. Though blacks and whites may now live side-by-side in our urban neighborhoods, I feel it will still take many years–perhaps decades–for this to occur without people of one race looking over their shoulders at people of the other.

    Culturally, there is still an overriding sense to many (likely the minority, though) that whites are “oppressors” and blacks are lazy, poor, and downtrodden. Because of this, there may admittedly be some truth to both. Because of the “idiots” that still advocate and project racist sentiments, oppression of blacks does occur to a lesser extent, evidenced by occasional police actions (I’ve heard recent anecdotes of blacks being stopped for no apparent reason), a bass-ackward education system (though it is improving), and a disinterest in righting socio-economic imbalances. Likewise, because the black community may feel “oppressed” (rightly or wrongly), some blacks may feel as if there’s no hope attempting to better themselves, and so they subject themselves to lives of crime and mischief.

    It is discussions such as these that is helping to limit the racial tension and misjudgments, and to help educate these “idiots.”

    Meanwhile, while we like to tie issues of crime and poverty to the black community, we must recognize it is NOT a black issue; it is an American issue. We are indeed doing far too little about poverty in America, from inner-city blacks to rural Appalachian whites, and everywhere in between. Crime is not tied to race; it is tied to socio-economic class. And until policy-makers stop focusing whole-heartedly on the middle class and start to resolve poverty issues caused by lack of education and opportunity, as well as the ill effects of gentrification, crime will simply shift from one location to the next, becoming someone else’s problem.

    Let’s remember today for the blacks AND whites that were killed during the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and for the negative consequences of racism. Let’s use it as a reminder that we should live together, as Cincinnatians and as Americans, and work to solve the issues that are important to ALL of us as a people.

  • crankyoldbitch

    I’m a little disturbed that this thread seems to aggregate all black folks into the urban/inter-city, ghetto rioters. A very tiny part of the black community was involved, but we all get tarred w the same brush. Cincinnati has a large middle-class black population. They work at P&G, and other major employers. They don’t deal drugs or steal. They’re active in their churches and communities. I think they’re the majority of blacks, not the minority. But I have a feeling if J passed one of those folks on the street downtown, he’d see a potential mugger or rioter.
    I speak from personal experience on that. When I’d walk down the street in Walnut Hills, folks going into their expensive fortress condo’s would never speak. My approach once made a guy run for his front door. Nobody seemed to notice my hoodie said RedHat, or that middle aged, middle class black women rarely mug people. I was just out walking for exercise, not casing their condo. So no, gentrification isn’t a sign of racial progress. I remember when the condo’s were built by Eden Park in Walnut Hills, and they had their little period of gentrification. The new residents,at best, ignored the existence of the people that have been there all along. I think they were hoping higher rents would force out the “undesirables”, and I’m pretty sure the new residents of OTR feel the same. Funny I never see any of the yuppies getting a gyro at Tina’s. Or helping out at the FreeStore. The segregation may be based on socio-economic factors instead of race, but it still exists.

    The riots weren’t a good thing. They didn’t move race relations forward. They just bred more fear and hatred.Sorry Randy, I just don’t agree that political window dressing,like a few meetings and the poorly attended Freedom Center,show racial progress, but maybe you could make your case based on neighborhood demographics. Some older neighborhoods seem more integrated over the years, and the ‘burbs are definitely integrated. Maybe that’s where racial progress is being made, among people that share the same socio-economic values.

    As for the Cincinnati police, am I the only one that was outraged when they ran over and killed a homeless woman sleeping in the park? OTR can count on better policing now, but that has way more to do with the new population and development than anything else. Perhaps you could chat w long time residents of the area for a better perspective. I have an elderly neighbor that lived in OTR for years, and she has very interesting views on the current developments.

  • J

    I love it when people accuse me of stereotyping then turn around and stereotype me. Let’s get a few things straight: I’ve lived downtown for years, and I was active in the Obama campaign. Don’t worry about other details. Obviously I don’t mean all black people. I know there are exceptions. I also know plenty of middle-class blacks and we get along just fine. What I actually meant was, “Why does hip hop culture still glorify crime and violence?” I didn’t mean everyone. Bad choice of words, I guess.

    Now concerning being tarred with the same brush as the rioters. The biggest issue I have with the larger black community is that no one really spoke out against the riot while it was happening. Where were the black middle class people condemning the bludgeoning of random white motorists? There were plenty of white people in OTR marching against what happened. The message I got was that of overwhelming support for the rioters/criminals, especially at the time. Perhaps things were just too confused at the time, I dunno. Seems the victims of the riots are easily forgotten and everyone wants to talk about Timothy Thomas and 15 black men that were killed, most of whom were trying to kill someone else.

  • http://zacharyschunn.blogspot.com Zachary Schunn

    “Why does hip hop culture still glorify crime and violence?”

    Good question. Why don’t you ask all the white suburbanites that listen to Eminem?

  • crankyoldbitch

    “Obviously I don’t mean all black people. I know there are exceptions.”

    It wasn’t obvious at all. Also, we, the non-criminals, are the rule, not the exception,in the larger community. It would probably be helpful if you narrowly defined your comments as applying to those that actually perpetrated the riots. Or to urban blacks in OTR.

    I can only infer your attitude from what you write. I wasn’t stereotyping you, but responding to the tone of your comments. Everyone’s perspective is colored by their life experiences, so if I was unfair in my characterization, then please forgive me.

    I went to school in Dayton and worked with a lot of people that lived in Huber Heights. Almost to a person, they would tell me how they moved to the suburbs after the riots in the what, late 60’s, early 70’s? I was in grade school at the time of the riots, but they felt the need to tell me there stories and their fears, all those years later. I have a lifetime of stories of people telling me how they’re afraid of other blacks, but not, you know, me. So if I’m cynical about race relations being advanced by a riot, well that would be the reason.

    I think we have a long way to go to get past all the fear and misunderstanding.

  • Joe

    It’s really sad that we have to continue to reopen these wounds ten years after the riots and even through significant progress has been made in OTR and in Cincinnati in general. On a local news channel they have been running a series on the riots and its really upsetting how they have made Timothy Thomas into some type of a “hero” when he was just a common low life who set the city back many years and caused a great deal of pain to many. Instead of interviewing the family and friends of the “victim” this time slot should have been given to one of the many individuals that have helped to spur the revival in Cincinnati’s urban core and has a positive message about the future.

  • Brenda

    Coming from Atlanta, I was surprised at how the black and whites seemed to distrust each other in Cincinnati. I was also surprised at how hard nosed the police force was in Cincinnati.

  • Maggie

    I will never forget the race riots. I was in my freshman year at UC living in daniels dorm on jefferson right down the street from Vine. There were protests, people were being shot across the street from my dorm, there was a campus wide curfew, and if you were caught out past 9 or 10 you would be arrested. There was a body outlined in white tape on the floor of my dorm. I went home to Indian Hill and stayed with my parents for a few days during that time, it was definately a scary scary time.