Cover Story: Chronology of the Uprising

A month in the life of Cincinnati

Apr 5, 2006 at 2:06 pm
Jon Hughes/

April 7, 2001: Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach shoots and kills Timothy Thomas at 13th and Republic streets in Over-the-Rhine.

April 9: Protesters dominate a city council committee meeting, then march to District 1 headquarters. Frustrated by the lack of response to their questions, the protesters march downtown before returning to District 1. The crowd grows to nearly 1,000; police disperse the crowd with rubber bullets and tear gas. Protesters break windows at City Hall overnight. Safety Director Kent Ryan is hospitalized with chest pains.

April 10: City Hall is closed to the public. Mayor Charlie Luken cancels Wednesday's council meeting, which had been scheduled for the Convention Center because of an anticipated large turnout. Vandalism breaks out downtown. Police forcefully disperse small groups marching in Over-the-Rhine.

A truck driver is pulled from his vehicle and assaulted. Officers use rubber bullets and tear gas to clear protesters from Washington Park. The crowd heads back to New Prospect Baptist Church in Over-the-Rhine, which remains open throughout the night. Demonstrators overnight break windows and set small fires.

April 11: Over-the-Rhine Community Council issues a statement calling for peace, saying, "(We are) outraged by the killing of Timothy Thomas, and we do not support the use of brute force by Cincinnati Police officers." Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC) cancels "Shout It Out" youth forum scheduled for next day. Impromptu protests at and around Washington Park. Cincinnati clergy meet at District 1 to discuss ways to restore calm, but the meeting ends with some ministers angry. U.S. Justice Department team arrives to determine if civil rights investigation of police is warranted. National Office of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense organizes a demonstration at the site of Thomas' death, then marches down Race Street. Cops form a line on Central Parkway, barring protesters from downtown. More fires and looting that night; a police officer takes a bullet in the belt buckle.

April 12: The Rev. Jesse Jackson is on WKRC (550 AM), urging nonviolence. Parents Who Have Lost Children, the Pull Together Movement and the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency meet to appeal for calm, asking mothers to help. Luken declares a state of emergency and imposes a citywide curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Luken asks Gov. Bob Taft to send state troopers. County commissioners declare state of emergency. International Socialist Organization rallies against police brutality at UC Law School. National NAACP President Kweisi Mfume meets with local officials and attends a town hall meeting at a church in Avondale. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati cancels the Easter vigil and other nighttime services during the curfew.

April 13: Annual Way of the Cross/Way of Justice march is cancelled after city revokes permit to march through Over-the-Rhine. CHRC launches Operation Mama Bear to help with Thomas' funeral and the re-opening of schools on April 16. Luken addresses a crowd including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders during a prayer service on Fountain Square. Minor incidents reported on second night of curfew. Ryan asks to be relieved of his duties for health reasons.

April 14: Luken apologizes to Thomas' family at the funeral, which is attended by Taft and Martin Luther King III. Although a demonstration after the funeral is peaceful, police injure a Louisville teacher and a 7-year-old girl standing on a corner. Curfew is extended through the night.

April 16: Luken lifts curfew and announces a four-point plan to "restore trust and confidence in our community institutions, and particularly in our police department." Councilman Phil Heimlich issues statement: "These are issues that should be addressed, but this commission should not be used as a vehicle to demand vast amounts of public dollars for government-run projects that have not worked." More than 100 members of the Cincinnati African-American Firefighters Association withdraw from Local 48, Cincinnati Firefighters Union.

May 2: City Manager John Shirey resigns effective Dec. 1 after he is criticized for lack of leadership during the unrest.

May 7: Grand jury indicts Roach for negligent homicide and obstruction of official business.