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Police Violence Mars Mourning

The celebratory wake and solemn funeral in Cincinnati for slain African-American youth Timothy Thomas were marred today by a guerilla-style assault by city police on an isolated group of demonstrators, which left three, including two children, injured.
Several hundred mourners had gathered before noon outside the church at Elm and Findlay where the service was held. Shortly before two P.M., a group of a few hundred marched toward downtown from the site of the wake.

After being flanked by lines of riot police for several bocks, the group came upon additional troops directly in the path of the march. Despite calls by some to challenge the police lines, several activists persuaded the march to turn away and proceed to Washington Square Park, a prominent landmark in the Over-the-Rhine area, just outside downtown.

From there, the crowd slowly dispersed, with many returning to the streets outside the funeral. After the service, mourners formed a human chain circling the street for the length of the block. When that gathering broke up to allow an emergency vehicle to attend to an individual who fell ill in the church, several dozen people began to encourage the rest of the group to again march toward downtown.

Most of the group remained in the area of the church, and the march ended just a few blocks away at the intersection of Liberty and Elm. Protesters held up signs, including one held by a white youth which read "It's not a black or white thing, its trigga[sic] happy cops." Passersby generally showed their support by honking car horns and raising fists or waving to the gathering.

Just after four P.M., a number of Cincinnati City Police cruisers sped around a corner and stopped in front of the group. Officers piled out of the cars, and, without warning, leveled shotguns at the sign-bearers and fired multiple beanbag rounds.

Everyone present scattered, and the police left the scene as quickly as they arrived. Three people suffered injuries, including two young bystanders aged 7 and 11.

Christine Jones, a member of the Louisville organization Citizens Against Police Abuse, was hit in the back several times. She retreated to the concrete walkway between two nearby buildings, where she remained, attended by friends and bystanders, for nearly an hour until paramedics arrived. She was taken to hospital, where she was treated and released.

The police action seemingly energized those remaining outside the church. They began marching toward the scene of the shooting, and continued on a winding route through the area, passing a police station before gathering again at the park. As of six P.M., hundreds of marchers gathered there, singing hymns just hours before the curfew by Mayoral decree took effect for a third consecutive night.

Today's funeral came at the end of a week of protest resulting from the Thomas' death. He was the fourth young unarmed black man killed by police in Cincinnati over the last five months.
 
 

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