Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Lakota students discuss Jones case

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

LIBERTY TWP. - Even as Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken was pitching his plan to put Tasers in the hands of officers, teens at Lakota East High School on Monday were questioning a lieutenant about the devices.

Cincinnati Police Lt. Anthony Carter spoke with two beginning journalism classes about the Nov. 30 altercation between Nathaniel Jones and police and subsequent community reaction.

Before opening the floor to questions from students, Carter told them a little bit about the incident, police procedures and his background - which included undercover assignments, homicide work and internal investigations. He also once coached Lakota SAY soccer

"I think it's important for us to understand what went on,'' said student Chuck Manchion said afterward. "A lot of time they (media) try to make it a black or white thing. I make it a rule to take a step back. He (Carter) helped me come to conclusions I might not have come up with.''

Teacher Dean Hume has used the case as a study exercise in news media coverage. For the past 10 days, students have been following the case and doing research, Hume said.

"How do you feel about the new stun guns?'' Leyla Shokoohe asked the police officer.

"I like them," Carter said. "They are not less lethal or more lethal than (nightsticks). ... It locks up (a person's) muscles."

Kevin Fraser wanted to know how the scrutiny has affected officers.

"There are some officers who feel they can't win, no matter what they do," Carter said.

When asked about community and police actions since the 2001 police shooting of Timothy Thomas and ensuing unrest, Carter said: "There were problems before Roger Owensby and Timothy Thomas ... and now Nathaniel Jones. We need to look at the underlying issues, which (are) trust and communications."

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