The U.S. Justice Department settlement to change police operations in Cincinnati and end racial profiling was reached by following the legal system and applying the rules of law, a retired U.S. Circuit Court judge told a Toledo audience yesterday.
Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, who retired last month from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, spoke at the Law Day 2002 program sponsored by the Toledo Bar Association.
A former general counsel for the NAACP, Judge Jones was appointed to the federal court in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.
He spoke to about 200 people at the luncheon at Wyndham Hotel downtown.
In the aftermath of the Cincinnati riots, Judge Jones said he felt compelled to write to his colleagues, friends, and others to address what he believed were the underlying factors for the clashes between African-Americans and police.
The riots were the worst incidents of their kind in decades.
He said the riots' precipitating factors were officers abusing their power and some citizens being denied equal access to justice.
“There has been a long history in our country of clashes between those wielding power and those who felt they were being victimized by those who had power,” he said.
The Justice Department investigation was requested by Mayor Charlie Luken after the police shooting of an unarmed black man in April, 2001.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft last month signed the agreement, which calls for improved citizen oversight of police and changes in police staffing.
A Youngstown native, Judge Jones is working in private practice in Cincinnati. He said the five-year agreement approved by Cincinnati city council involved all parties taking a serious approach to the understanding of the U.S. legal system.