Mayor: Our police march "arm in arm" with civil rights leaders - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Mayor: Our police march "arm in arm" with civil rights leaders

"It looked like a war zone," one witness told FOX19 NOW (FOX19 NOW/file) "It looked like a war zone," one witness told FOX19 NOW (FOX19 NOW/file)
Protesters filled the streets in Cincinnati in April 2001. (FOX19 NOW/file) Protesters filled the streets in Cincinnati in April 2001. (FOX19 NOW/file)
Cincinnati has come a long way since riots broke out 14 years ago.

Civil rights leaders who once clashed with police now march "arm in arm" with them against violence, Mayor John Cranley said in an appearance Thursday on FOX19 NOW Morning News.

The city has become a national example of police-community relations reform after riots broke out 14 years ago following the police shooting of an unarmed, fleeing African-American teenager wanted on misdemeanor charges in Over-the-Rhine.

Reminiscent of current day Baltimore, Cincinnati's then-Mayor Charlie Luken enforced a curfew to quell the unrest and then asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the police department for discriminatory patterns or practices.

The city, police department and civil rights leaders entered into a Collaborative Agreement that resulted from a settlement after the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and joined with the Cincinnati Black United Front to file suit in 2001, alleging racial profiling and discriminatory law enforcement.

"Back in those days, when we had our unrest, there was a great deal of anger in the civil rights community that the police were not treating people fairly so they were protesting on city hall and then they were suing us alleging misconduct," Cranley said. "Well, that doesn't help you bring down crime or violence when you have a huge chunk of your population that doesn't help you trust the people that they are paying to help police their neighborhoods. so we worked together, built this relationship, collaborative agreement, and now civil rights leaders routinely are marching arm in arm with the cops in the neighborhoods against violence. 

"That's a sea change in why we were able to bring the homicide rate down by 9 percent last year, why violent crime is down, although there are a couple of shootings in the last couple days I am concerned about," he said. "But, big picture is we are now working together to reduce crime."

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