Charges Dropped Against Black Teen
Jun. 23, 2001
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)
CINCINNATI (AP) _ Charges of aggravated rioting and robbery against a 14-year-old black teen-ager accused of attacking a truck driver and a hot dog vendor during the city's April riots were dropped Friday, court officials said.
The teen-ager, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, appeared Friday before Magistrate Denis Holtmeier in Hamilton County Juvenile Court.
Court officials said the charges were dropped after witnesses, including truck driver Robert Stearns, were unable to positively identify the teen-ager from a videotape of the April 10 attack. The boy said he was innocent.
There was no answer Friday night to calls to the county prosecutor's office for comment.
Film of the truck driver's beating was aired during television news coverage of rioting that followed a white police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Timothy Thomas, 19, on April 7.
A 15-year-old black teen-ager accused of pulling Stearns from his vehicle will appear in Juvenile Court July 9 for a hearing to determine whether he will be transferred to Common Pleas Court for trial as an adult.
The 15-year-old is charged with abducting Stearns and with robbery and aggravated rioting in an attack on another hot dog vendor. He is also charged with ethnic intimidation, Ohio's version of hate-crime legislation.
Police allege that the 15-year-old attacked the white trucker, from Louisville, Ky., because of his race.
Under Ohio law, the teen-ager could be held only until he is 21 if convicted as a juvenile. If convicted as an adult, he could receive up to 28 1/2 years in prison.
The 14-year-old's case could not be transferred to adult court because he was 13 when the alleged offenses occurred. In Ohio, a person must be at least 14 for charges to be handled by an adult court.
Sixty-three people have been indicted in the rioting.