- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2003

CINCINNATI (AP) Angered by a judge's comments, the Cincinnati police union said yesterday it wants out of an agreement put in place after 2001 race riots to improve police relations with blacks.
Officials with the Fraternal Order of Police said more than 200 members voted unanimously yesterday to pull out of the agreement and will soon ask U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott to make it official.
The union blamed Judge Dlott for the decision, saying she believes police violate civil rights and engage in racial profiling. A spokeswoman for Judge Dlott's office declined to comment yesterday.
The agreement appears to be on the verge of unraveling: The Black United Front dropped out earlier this year, unhappy with the pace of reform and vowing to focus on an economic boycott of the city.
The city's worst racial unrest in decades erupted in April 2001 after a white police officer shot and killed Timothy Thomas, 19, a black man who was fleeing police. The rioting lasted three nights, quelled only by a citywide curfew. Officer Stephen Roach was later acquitted of charges in the shooting.
The agreement stems from a lawsuit filed before the riots by the American Civil Liberties Union and black activists that accused the city and police of discriminating against blacks for decades. The agreement to make changes in the police department was approved last year between the ACLU, the Black United Front, the city and the police union.
Mayor Charles Luken has accused Judge Dlott of bias because she ruled against the city three times in recent weeks in cases involving police. She was also critical of the police department in her ruling allowing the Black United Front to withdraw.
The police union cited her comments as the basis for pulling out.
"Judge Dlott will only harm community-police relations and cause more dissension and animosity if she continues with this farce," union Vice President Keith Fangman said.
Justice Department spokesman Jorge Martinez said the union's decision will not affect a separate agreement between the federal government and the city to overhaul police operations and curtail excessive use of force.
But he said the department was disappointed that the agreement had run into problems "as we believe that participation of all affected parties" is the best solution.

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