Irony of Ironies in Cincinnati
Timothy Thomas, the unarmed young Black man who had outstanding
misdemeanor warrants. He was killed in April by a white police officer
in Cincinnati. While we still do not know the "official" reason for the
killing, one thing we do know is that Brother Thomas had misdemeanor
traffic tickets. We know he ran from the police. We know that he was
would you think if you read the headline of your local
paper and it said, "One man commits misdemeanors and gets death;
another man commits murder and gets misdemeanors?" I am sure you would
think it was a mockery, a travesty, a miscarriage of justice, and
every other negative you could come up with, right? Well, guess what!
It very well could be the headline in the local newspapers in
You remember Timothy Thomas, the unarmed young Black man
who had outstanding misdemeanor warrants. He was killed in April by a
white police officer in Cincinnati. While we still do not know the
"official" reason for the killing, one thing we do know is that Brother
Thomas had misdemeanor traffic tickets. We know he ran from the police.
We know that he was killed. We know the alleged initial statement by the
officer was that Thomas was "reaching" for something. We know that was a
Officer Stephen Roach, the police officer who shot
Thomas, now faces two separate indictments, both misdemeanors. He is
charged with negligent homicide and obstructing official business, both
of which are misdemeanors and carry a maximum of nine months in jail.
However, a person found guilty of these charges, if he or she does not
have a previous record, is not likely to go to jail, especially if he or
she is white.
Yes, irony of ironies. If this does not convince you of
the gross, in-your-face disparities that exist in our "criminal
injustice" system, I donít know what will. Even though a few years ago a
national commission told the country these disparities exist, we still
kept our heads in the sand. Denial of the information from that
commission will get you exactly what we have here in Cincinnati: A Black
man who failed to buckle his seatbelt, and ran from the police because
he had misdemeanor charges, ends up murdered by a white officer who gets
charged with two misdemeanors for his actions.
And some white people are still asking, "Whatís the
problem?" "Why are Black people so angry?" "Why are Blacks marching and
obstructing business in downtown?" "Why are Black people not satisfied
with officer Roachís indictment?" "Donít Blacks understand that if they
prevent the downtown and Over-the-Rhine businesses from making money
they will eventually move?" "Donít they know that the tax base will be
eroded if these businesses are not allowed to continue to make money?"
"What about the jobs these businesses provide? What will happen to those
employees of the bars and the restaurants and the antique shops and all
of the other effected businesses?"
The list goes on and on, but I think you get the point.
The hue and cry regarding the after-effects of the Timothy Thomas murder
did not go up until the businesses began to lose money. The mayor of
Cincinnati really got upset when one of downtown Cincinnatiís major
events, "Jamminí On Main," was cancelled. By the way, it is a
predominantly white-attended event. All of the bands that play in the
event are white as well.
gnashing of teeth did not really
start until the prospect of more dollars being lost came to the fore.
Major corporate heads called for meetings with city officials to put an
end to what they perceived as the real problem. They were faced with
losing money, and they were not about to take that lying down. Itís
funny how money always seems to creep into the picture at times like
these. I always say, if you peel back enough layers on any problem you
will eventually get to economics.
So now the irony of ironies in our injustice system has
evolved into a money issueóas I knew it would sooner or later. The cat
is out of the bag, as they say. I donít know what the next chapter of
this unbelievable story will be, but I assure you it will interesting.
The mayor has formed a commission, but strangely enough there has been
no allocation or even mention of money for the group, as if mere talk
will solve the problem.
Yes, it will be very interesting, but I doubt if
Cincinnati or any other city can top the latest irony we witnessed when
Prosecutor Mike Allen announced his indictment of Officer Roach for the
murder of Timothy Thomas.
Stephen Roach received misdemeanor charges for murder.
Timothy Thomas received murder for misdemeanor charges.
(James Clingman is the author of the new book, "Blackonomics."
Contact him at 513-489-4132 or see website: www.Blackonomics.com)