Black Teen Charged in Cincinnati Hate Crime

Article excerpt

Cincinnati police yesterday charged a 15-year-old black youth with a hate crime in an attack on a white truck driver during three days of racial riots there last month.

The unidentified teen-ager, also charged with aggravated rioting and robbery, pleaded not guilty yesterday. He is the second person to be charged with ethnic intimidation, Ohio's version of hate crime prosecution.

He is accused of assaulting the truck driver and attempting to steal his vehicle as it sat outside a shop near the riot area April 10.

Prosecutors have asked the juvenile court to release the suspect so that he may be charged as an adult. He faces a June 8 hearing to determine the jurisdiction.

Police also arrested a 14-year-old and charged him with two counts of aggravated rioting. His hearing date is June 6.

A juvenile magistrate ordered both suspects to remain in custody until their cases are heard. Police and the Hamilton County prosecutor's office said that more arrests - and similar charges - are forthcoming.

"We had video footage of the riots and this has enabled us to start finding the people who committed these crimes," said Cincinnati Police Lt. Ray Ruberg. "And I don't think we`re done with it yet."

The officer said that both news and amateur video footage have been used to find the accused. The two teen-aged suspects were identified with help from neighborhood patrol officers.

The April 7 fatal shooting of an unarmed, black 19-year-old man set off three days of racial riots that swept through a district of the downtown called Over-the-Rhine, a predominantly black neighborhood.

White motorists were attacked by mostly black youth gangs during the fracas. Police made 837 arrests that yielded 66 indictments, charges ranging from aggravated rioting to looting.

At several points over the past several weeks, some community leaders have asked prosecutors for amnesty, saying it would help heal the city. Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen again yesterday rebuffed such requests.

"The quickest way to allow this kind of stupidity to happen again is to grant amnesty," Mr. Allen said.

He added that the 15-year-old could eventually end up in a federal court. Because the suspect was reportedly attempting to steal a vehicle, federal prosecutors could take over the case under the federal carjacking statute, a law that Ohio lacks. …