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Cincinnati curfew calms violence after officer cleared

CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) -- An overnight curfew in Cincinnati apparently calmed the scattered violence that erupted in the Ohio city following the acquittal of a white police officer on charges connected to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in April.

Mayor Charlie Luken declared a state of emergency after protesters set fire to trash bins and cars on city streets and bashed in the windows of other vehicles following the verdict's announcement.

"The chief said at about 1:45 (a.m.) that most of the protesters had gone home," Brendon Cull, an aide to Luken, told CNN. "It's been very quiet throughout the early morning hours."

The curfew was lifted at 6 a.m. Thursday and was to run again from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday.

The violence broke out after officer Stephen Roach, 27, charged with two misdemeanors in the April shooting death of a black man, was found not guilty Wednesday by a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge.

Roach had pleaded innocent to one count of negligent homicide and one count of obstruction of official business stemming from the death of Timothy Thomas, 19, who was shot as he fled police. Thomas had been sought on 14 misdemeanor charges.

Thomas' death spurred days of rioting in the Ohio city. Many black residents complained Cincinnati police use tough, unfair and dangerous tactics against minorities, a charge the police chief has rejected.

A peaceful procession made its way through downtown Wednesday. The group carried signs reading, "Stop police brutality," as people sang inspiration songs.

Luken said he imposed the curfew -- and declared a state of emergency -- to head off a possible repeat of the April riots.

"Simply stated, this city must get control of the streets. We must not only get control. We must maintain control," Luken said Wednesday. "We must send a clear signal of who is in charge. We must send a clear signal that law and order is the rule and anything else won't be tolerated."


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