Protest Groups Want Downtown Boycotted - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

November 23, 2000

Protest Groups Want Downtown Boycotted

Members of the Black United Front want holiday shoppers to avoid downtown.

The group held a rally Wednesday, protesting Cincinnati police's involvement in the death of Roger Owensby. A coroner's report ruled the 29 year old Roselawn man died two weeks ago of suffocation, caused by either a choke hold or a "pile up".

"How can you have a choke hold gone bad," asked William Kirkland, the group's spokesperson. "There is no good choke hold. It's just not proper for trained police to choke anybody."

BUF wants citizens to boycott businesses directly or indirectly connected to downtown, from Central Parkway to the river for the next couple of months, or "until police brutality stops".

Members of Special Forces demonstrated by carrying a casket from the gas station where Owensby died to the Hamilton County Courthouse and City Hall. Both groups petitioned for the resignations of City Manager John Shirey and Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen.

"We're getting ready to put enough pressure on the style of government to have a real complete investigation for a change and not shove it under the rug," said Minister Abdul Muhammad Ali.

Investigators looking into the case hope to know more by re-examining the seven seconds not accounted for on a surveillance tape capturing part of Owensby's arrest.

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