Ferguson can learn from Cincinnati - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ferguson can learn from Cincinnati

Stock footage from the Cincinnati riots in 2001 (Photo: FOX19) Stock footage from the Cincinnati riots in 2001 (Photo: FOX19)
Stock footage from the Cincinnati riots in 2001 (Photo: FOX19) Stock footage from the Cincinnati riots in 2001 (Photo: FOX19)
Stock footage from the Cincinnati riots in 2001 (Photo: FOX19) Stock footage from the Cincinnati riots in 2001 (Photo: FOX19)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Tensions continue to rise in Ferguson, Mo., outside, St. Louis, as some residents continue to riot in protest over the shooting death of Michael Brown.
 
Cincinnati dealt with riots in April 2001 after a Cincinnati Police Department officer shot and killed 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, who was unarmed.
 
It took time for the city to come together again, but it seems there's a lot Ferguson can learn from the Queen City.
 
"It looks like in Ferguson, things aren't getting any better," said Charlie Luken.
 
Charlie Luken was Cincinnati's mayor in 2001 and says he remembers the protests quite well. But thanks to his experience, he says transparency is something Ferguson needs to improve on.
 
"I think it's very difficult when you do things like I can't tell you who the police officer was involved, I can't tell you how the investigation is going and one of the things we learned is if something happens, just put the cards on the table," said Luken.
 
Before the riots, civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein was working to bring new measures of police accountability because of disaffection from the black community.
 
"We had community wide dialogue, we had lots of online surveys, we had community meetings and we had over 10,000 suggestions as to how to build police community trust," said Al Gerhardstein.
 
He says it can be tough dealing with emotional people on the streets, but when the riots began, they interviewed more than 400 protesters to uncover the bigger issues. 
 
"It means doing things a little differently, you start with the people on the street. You don't start with the suits and the uniforms," said Gerhardstein.
 
Eventually community leaders and police formed a collaborative agreement that addresses how police relate to the people. Luken says it's only grown over the years.
 
"Now you see a much better partnership between the police and the citizens to improve their neighborhoods and I think before 2001 that didn't exist," said Luken.
 
Luken says the culture of the police department has changed for the better, and in a way, these protests made our city stronger.
 
"If you were to put yourself back in 2001 you can't imagine these things could happen. The changes in Over-the-Rhine, these things could have never happened had people not come together in '01," said Luken.
 
Gerhardstein says Cincinnati has in some way become a model city for this reform. He says he's already been talking to civil right attorneys in the Ferguson area to hopefully help them through this time.

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