White Cincinnati Police Officer Acquitted After Killing An Unarmed Black Man

September 28, 2001

A white Cincinnati police officer was acquitted Wednesday in the killing of an unarmed black man, a shooting thatsparked massive protests and riots last spring.

Officer Stephen Roach had been charged with negligent homicide and obstructing official business. He shot TimothyThomas, 19, as he fled from arrest for misdemeanor charges, most of which were traffic violations, including failureto wear a seat belt.

Hamilton County Municipal Judge Ralph Winkler pronounced his verdict after a 7 day trial without a jury. He saidthat the shooting was a "split-second reaction to a very dangerous situation created by Timothy Thomas," and calledRoach’s action reasonable.

A crowd of protesters gathered outside the courthouse for the verdict, and protests continued throughout the night.

Police have killed 15 black men since 1995, four since November.


  • Pastor Damon Lynch, Cincinnati Black United Front.