- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Cincinnati is in the grip of a crime wave with 77 persons shot in 59 incidents since riots rocked the city in April.
Police say the violence, six times the normal figure, has enveloped the black community in this normally peaceful city.
"We are losing control of our streets," said Keith Fangman, president of the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen is expected soon to visit the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, ground zero of the almost exclusively black-on-black crime wave, and announce a grand jury pronouncement on the man who engaged in a shootout with police last week.
His unprecedented visit to the troubled neighborhood, which has almost four times as many single-mother families as married-couple families, will not be announced publicly. The streets may not even be safe for one of the most visible law-enforcement figures in the city.
"There is no use in inviting trouble," said one aide.
Police in the city of 331,000 have formed a 60-officer task force to combat criminals who are finding opportune sanctuary in the aftermath of the April riots.
Three days of rioting followed the police shooting of a black teen-ager in Over-the-Rhine. The black community accused police of racial profiling and cited several black men killed by the 1,000-officer police force since 1995 as proof that something was amiss at the department.
Police now are trying to find a middle ground between a racial-profiling mandate passed by the city council in May and their appointed duties of patrol and keeping the peace.
"Our discretion has been limited in the midst of fallout from the riots," said Cincinnati Police Lt. Ray Ruberg. "The racial profiling forms policy also went into effect in May, and a lot of officers now feel they have to articulate for every stop and that, in turn, will limit stops.
"What was once suspicion has turned into probable cause," he said.
Last week, a black doctor was shot as he drove his car, caught in the cross fire of a robbery.
In a July 4 drive-by shooting, a man sat on the passenger-side door of a car and shot over the roof, hitting a man in the back. Investigators found more than 20 spent rounds from .25-caliber, .380-caliber and .45-caliber weapons on the street.
A white man was severely beaten by at least one black assailant in the late hours of Saturday night. The suspect was arrested Monday; the victim is critical.
Also Saturday, a man attempting to hijack a stopped car was caught in the act and fled police. In the ensuing chase through several neighborhoods, the suspect fired at least 20 shots at two officers, police said. The suspect was apprehended when his weapon jammed.
The shootout ended one block from where 19-year-old Timothy Thomas was shot while fleeing police on April 7. Since then, violence and political battles that have transformed Cincinnati into a hotbed of unrest.
"It's like the killing fields, it's like the Wild West down here," Mr. Allen said. "There is still the same lawlessness that went on during the riots. And the criminals know that police are now reluctant to take action."
The numbers substantiate Mr. Allen's view. The city has seen 59 shooting incidents since April; during the same period last year, there were nine shootings. Arrests since April are down 50 percent; traffic stops have dropped 60 percent.
"This city has never seen this level of violence," said Mr. Fangman of the local fraternal order of police. "This is an epidemic of crime."
In a pessimistic note to union members, Mr. Fangman wrote in a recent FOP newsletter, "If you want to make 20 traffic stops a shift and chase every dope dealer you see, you go right ahead. Just remember that if something goes wrong, or you make the slightest mistake in that split second, it could result in having your worst nightmare come true for you and your family, and City Hall will sell you out."
Mr. Fangman said yesterday that Cincinnati is part of a national trend, joining Seattle and Los Angeles as cities where police will not enforce the law in black neighborhoods for fear of being sued, being cited or being accused of racism.
City councilman Phil Heimlich, one of the few council members who has been supportive of the police department, accuses Cincinnati's black leaders of running a "protection racket."
"The politicians and the mayor have been pounding on the police for the last three months," Mr. Heimlich said. "Officers now have to fill out a form every time they stop anybody for the purposes of this race-profiling effort. And the message has gotten out on the street. The criminal element now thumbs its nose at the police. I think that is what explains all of these shootings."
Mayor Charlie Luken did not return calls.
The Rev. Clarence Wallace, who has led the Carmel Presbyterian Church for 23 years, said the crime wave is indicative of an economically starved culture that has created its own environment.
"They have created the criminal culture," he said.
Mr. Wallace said the lawlessness will subside when the city's black community is given financial help.
"We have asked for help in these pockets of the city," said Mr. Wallace, part of a loosely knit panel called Group of Concerned Clergy. "And so far, we have heard nothing. We know it will not be a quick solution, but until some of these communities are strengthened, you are going to have this crime."
Another group of activists this week announced a boycott of all city events.
The first targets are this weekend's popular black musical festivals, the Kool Jazz and Ujima Cinci-Bration events.

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