Wednesday, November 3, 2010


April 7, 2001 was an unseasonably warm spring night in Cincinnati, Ohio. Late that night, around 2 a.m., in a neighborhood called “Over the Rhine,” a young man walking down the street is spotted by an off duty police officer outside “The Warehouse,” a local nightclub. As the officer approaches the man runs and a chase is on.

Radio officer: “Ah we have a suspect, male, black, about 6 foot, red bandana, last seen east bound on east 13th. He has, ah, about 14 warrants on him...”

Other officers quickly join the pursuit.

Radio dispatcher: “Okay cars in the area copy on that. Chasing a subject with open warrants, approximately 14 of them, male black.”

A 27-year-old Cincinnati police officer spots the suspect as he runs into a dark alley. As a police car approaches, its camera rolling, the officer runs towards the alley and almost immediately a shot rings out. A single bullet fired from the officer's gun pierces the suspect's heart. He's pronounced dead at 3:02 am. The officer later tells investigators he thought the suspect was reaching for a gun – but no gun was ever found. By dawn, the identity of the suspect comes to light. The man was 19-years-old, a young father with an infant son. The man'sname was Timothy Thomas.

For many of Cincinnati's African Americans, Thomas, the latest in a growing number of black men to die at the hands of Cincinnati police, felt like the last straw. Within 24 hours, the anger and mistrust the African-American community felt towards its police exploded on the streets. Riot police marched through the streets, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Days of civil unrest followed, painful for the city to endure.

But while it was the death of Timothy Thomas that enraged many in the city, it was the story of what happened to Thomas months before his death that would raise the most disturbing questions. Those questions would launch Dateline on a 14 month investigation revealing new information on racial profiling?

1 comment:

  1. In a mountain town community called Lebec, Ca, the sheriff department was called because a Hispanic with baggy pants and hip hop styling had something a fast food worker thought was a gun protruding from his jacket pocket. He proceeded to eat his meal, when the local Kern County Sheriffs (Kern is the origin of the band name Korn) pulled up and waited for him to leave. They then railed the man to the ground and searched all his possessions at gun point. It was a fucking wallet. No drugs no guns just a fucking wallet!