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Cincinnati officer indicted for April shooting

CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) -- A grand jury indicted a Cincinnati police officer for the April fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, which sparked four days of protests and unrest.

A Hamilton County grand jury found Officer Stephen Roach should face negligent homicide charges and a count of obstructing official business in the shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas on April 7.

Both charges are misdemeanors, Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen said.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen announces the indictment of Cincinnati Police Office Steven Roach

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Roach has been on administrative leave since the shooting, which sparked days of violent protests that prompted a citywide curfew and state of emergency.

Cincinnati authorities were on high alert in advance of the grand jury report's release.

"A lot of people are angry about what might happen at six o'clock. So we're just trying to prepare for any contingency," Cincinnati Mayor Charles Luken said.

"We're ready for anything, but we're hoping for the best," he added.

Monday, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he has authorized an investigation into whether the city's police department has shown a "pattern and practice" of violating citizens' civil rights, as critics charged during last month's unrest.

Michael Allen  

Justice Department officials told CNN that the point of the probe is not to prosecute but to correct any problems, and that the department will offer Cincinnati authorities technical assistance during the investigation.

"If the problems can be resolved along the way, why not?" a Justice official told CNN.

Police were preparing for any repercussions from Monday's announcement.

"We will be prepared for whatever occurs," a top police official said.

The Rev. Mike Graham, president of Xavier University in Cincinnati, said he feared the grand jury's investigation could add to racial tensions. "I'm concerned that whatever happens leads to further difficulties for moving toward a solution," he said.

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April 10, 2001

Cincinnati Police Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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