Thursday, September 25, 2003

NKU professor, Fox News reach settlement


He sued over allegedly untrue report

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - A Northern Kentucky professor who sued Fox News has reached a confidential settlement with the cable news broadcaster, according to recent court filings.

Northern Kentucky University professor Clinton Hewan was trying to prove that a May 2, 2001, article published by Foxnews.com was substantially untrue and damaging to him. The piece focused on the controversy over Hewan's remarks at a 2001 forum called to discuss racial unrest in Cincinnati.

The forum took place two weeks after Cincinnati police officer Stephen Roach fatally shot Timothy Thomas, an unarmed African-American man who was fleeing police.

The case was scheduled to go to trial in December after Judge David Bunning in U.S. District Court in Covington declared a mistrial in July. Jurors could not reach a verdict.

Hewan and attorneys for Fox could not be reached for comment.

A reporter for NKU's campus newspaper, The Northerner, was present at the forum and quoted Hewan as saying, "I do not advocate any violence as an initiate. But in the case of willful murder, the family (of Timothy Thomas) should go out and get that policeman."

According to The Northerner, Hewan also said the family should "quietly stalk that S.O.B. and take him out" in order to stand up for themselves.

A furor ensued, with NKU President James Votruba issuing a stern rebuke to the professor. Hewan subsequently complained that The Northerner had taken his comments out of context.

Six days into the controversy, which was heavily covered by Cincinnati media, Fox News published its article, headlined "Prof's Kill-a-cop Comments Prompt Outcry at College Near Cincinnati." The first paragraph said the professor's "call for deadly vigilante justice" against Roach had sent shock waves across NKU.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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