Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Grand jury looking into beanbag case

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A federal grand jury will examine evidence and hear testimony about Cincinnati police officers who fired nonlethal, pellet-filled beanbags at a crowd April 14.

        At this point, the grand jury is involved in the case only to help federal authorities investigate the incident. The officers are on paid administrative leave.

        City solicitors say the use of a grand jury is “standard procedure” in investigations of this kind. Robert Johnstone, an assistant city solicitor, said no decision has been made on whether the officers should face criminal charges.

        “They have not remotely reached that point,” Mr. Johnstone said Tuesday of the federal investigators.

        The FBI and an attorney from the U.S. Justice Department have been investigating the incident for more than a week. The investigation was prompted by complaints about how several officers fired the beanbags into a crowd of people leaving the funeral of Timothy Thomas.

        The 19-year-old Mr. Thomas was shot and killed by a police officer April 7, prompting three days of rioting in Cincinnati.


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