The Legal, Political, and Public War on Racial Profiling and Its Unlikely Victims

By Horowitz, David; Levin, Marc | Texas Review of Law & Politics, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

The Legal, Political, and Public War on Racial Profiling and Its Unlikely Victims


Horowitz, David, Levin, Marc, Texas Review of Law & Politics


I. INTRODUCTION

Following the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, there has been much discussion of racial profiling.1 The last time racial profiling garnered so much attention was in a much different context-urban race riots in Cincinnati.2 Ironically, on September 26, less than two weeks after the terrorist attacks, Stephen Roach, a white Cincinnati police officer who had been charged with negligent homicide and obstructing official business, was acquitted for shooting black fugitive Timothy Thomas in a dark alley on April 7.3 Hamilton County Municipal Judge Ralph E. Winkler ruled on the case after hearing the trial without a jury, at Roach's request.4 Fires were set in trash bins and there were reports of gunfire on the night following the judge's decision, leading Mayor Charlie Luken to impose a curfew for the rest of the week.5

The unrest following the verdict, however, may have been tempered by the events of September 11, as it was mild compared to the black race riot in April, triggered by the shooting of Thomas.6 Thomas had fourteen warrants for his arrest and was fleeing twelve officers with drawn guns at the time of his demise.7 Thomas had already scaled a fence and reached for his pocket when Roach pulled the trigger, believing Thomas was about to grab a gun from his pocket.8 While it turned out that Thomas did not have a gun, it was reasonable for any responsible law enforcement official to suspect that he was more dangerous than in retrospect he turned out to be.

The targets of the riot following this shooting were Cincinnati police and the white population.9 The lawless indignation of this event rallied self-appointed champions of "social justice" from coast to coast,10 as it always does. It was not called a "black race riot" by any self-respecting media institutions of course. Although white citizens of Cincinnati were dragged from their vehicles and beaten for their skin color," there was scant concern for the "hate crime" aspects of the outrage, to which liberals (in more politically correct situations) normally attend. It was treated, instead, as a black "protest" against "racial profiling" and "police brutality"12-charges both factually contradicted13 and now legally refuted,14 but nevertheless accepted by progressive elites who would not know what to think otherwise. In liberal circles, the Cincinnati race riot was treated as a civil rights "uprising" against white racism,15 which in liberal gospels is the only possible source of evil afflicting the black world.

II. THE CINCINNATI EXPERIENCE

In response to Cincinnati's riot (and its perceived injustice), all the forces of liberal self-righteousness descended on the city. The usual race hustlers ranted about "civil rights;"16 the local politicians folded under this moral assault and indicted the police.17 In tediously familiar outlines, the Cincinnati events became yet another "socialjustice" charade. When the shouting was over, what remained was the reality. This was a war against the defenders of law in Cincinnati and, in particular, against the defenders of law in the impoverished Cincinnati neighborhoods inhabited by blacks. Law enforcement lost this war, and crime won. In this, the city was a microcosm of contemporary urban America itself.

The results of Cincinnati's war on law and order have been dutifully reported in the Cincinnati press,18 and.just as dutifully spiked in the "liberal" media that serve the nation.19 To put the statistics in perspective, understand that last year-before the race riot and the left-wing assault on Cincinnati police-there were about three shootings per month in the spring in these same neighborhoods,20 where the most vulnerable of Cincinnati's citizens live. Like the young criminal whose flight from police and consequent death was the incident that actually precipitated the riot, all of the twenty-two suspects arrested for these shootings are black males.21

A local newspaper reported,

In the weeks after the April riots, gunfire crackled at an alarming rate through Over-the-Rhine, West End, Avondale, Bond Hill and other predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

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