The Cincinnati Race Riots: Shades of Things to Come

The Cincinnati Race Riots

Shades Of Things To Come

April 9 to 14, 2001

When the history of the 21st century is written, the record will undoubtedly show that one of the main sparks that led to Civil War II was the race riot in Cincinnati Ohio, in April of 2001.

This report is to inform readers of the intense nature of these events, in order that you may understand the full width and depth of the actions of both sides in this rioting. There is little in this report that has been published before, and is not just another article on the rioting. This riot was not some spontaneous event, which took its own course. Once it began, organized elements leapt to the fore and took command of the situation. It was far better organized than any previous riot.

Let it be said, first and foremost, that this was a full-fledged spasm of race war. It was short-lived, but it was intense and extremely dangerous to everyone involved. The details of which are listed below:

One of the most unusual effects of the discord was that it kept on going, seemingly without end. There were new rioters stepping into the fray, almost as fast as the police could snatch them off the street. The emotional charge of the riots was unchanged from beginning to end. The depth of rage in most of the rioters was beyond measure. Report after report came through local media of white people, when screaming for a reason they were being stomped by their black attackers, were told, “It’s because you’re white.” And, “This is a race thing.” These reports were seen and heard by hundreds of thousands of people on local news channels.

What started the riot? A young black man, Timothy Thomas, is wanted on 14 misdemeanor warrants, and had successfully run and escaped arrest on two previous occasions. Police chase him into a near pitch-black alley in Cincinnati’s worst neighborhood. Wearing the current down-to-your-knees, look-like-a-convict fashion, the guy is running holding his pants up. This puts his hands at waist level. Combine this hand position with a dark alley and a winded cop, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Essentially, that’s what happened. Yikes! POW! This is all said at the risk of defending the Cincinnati police, who are not “nice guys” either.

Two things happened on the first night of the riots:

Aside from the spontaneous explosion of rioting, there was a meeting held at a downtown church, The New Friendship Baptist Church, where ministers of the local black churches, the New Black Panthers, the Black United Front, family of the man killed by police, a local elected official, and a crowd of supporters gathered to compose themselves and plan a strategy.

Reverend Damon Lynch, of the Black United Front condemned the violence on the one hand, and encouraged it on the other: “The government will not change until we stand up in numbers,” and “Only through chaos will change come.”

Cincinnati beat cops, who ordinarily patrol the area were allowed entry to the church. The cops were invited to speak, but after stating, “The problem is not with the police, it’s with the parents,” the police were shouted down and run off with chants of “Pigs out of the building!”

Attendees then decided to march down to the site of the rioting with the ministers, the elected official and several nuns in the lead. They were met by a line of police who instructed them to stop, turn around and go back. After the ministers refused to leave, stating that they wanted to try and cool things down, police held a loaded shotgun to the head of the politician (Roland Heyne) and the order to leave repeated. Only then did the marchers obey the police and return to the church.

As fifty people stood on the steps of the church, five police cars roared by with their lights blinking. From the police cars a barrage of rubber bullets flew into the side and doors of the building, ricocheting and bouncing around. Miraculously, no one was hit. Absolutely none of this was reported in the news. One witness said she counted twenty shotgun blasts.

How could anyone in their right mind say that such actions by the police could possibly help the situation? If anything, it undoubtedly worsened everything.

Welcome to Somalia:

Most astonishing was the use of tactics out of Chechnya and Somalia used on the streets of Cincinnati. These included:

Confiscating needed equipment by the rioters: Need a cell phone? Smash somebody using one upside the head and take it. Need a pickup truck to turn into a “technical” like the ones used in Somalia? Just carjack one and use it. The transition from cars to pickup trucks was quick.

Featured in the April 11, 2001 Cincinnati Enquirer was a photo of seven rioters, some of them masked, in the back of a small truck. Add AK-47s and you’ve got a scene right out of Mogadishu. This time rioters used only pistols, shotguns and Molotovs.

The future of rioting

Willingness to destroy the infrastructure in order to accomplish their goals:

As in Grozny, Chechnya, repeated attempts were made to black out areas of the city by building fires in dumpsters beneath power lines, or rolling them under the lines and then setting the fire. These sort of fires received much greater attention by fire fighters than ordinary dumpster fires which were frequently left to burn themselves out. Had rioters been able to blackout downtown, their ability to move about unchallenged and fire weapons into police lines and into emergency vehicles would have been greatly enhanced. None of their attempts to knock out electricity were successful.

On the tactical level, the rioting had three distinct characteristics:

            Crowd actions: These were led by organized core groups of fifty or more people. These groups got larger as they moved along, and increased in violent activities as well. These crowds perpetrated the largest numbers of assaults against businesses and police lines.

            Squad size actions: These consisted mainly of groups of 6 to 20 young black men, who would mask themselves with bandanas and assault motorists with bottles and rocks. At least two reports per day were heard on police radios of young black men, with their faces hidden with bandanas, dropping heavy stones from overpasses on US I-75 onto the highway. There were no reports of any injuries or accidents.

            Individual actions: This was, by far, the most unpredictable element of the rioting. It consisted of individuals who, while walking alone along a sidewalk or driving alone, would spot white city workers or pedestrians, and then draw a pistol and open fire. One young man, interviewed on local news, was sitting in his jeep at a light, when a young black man looked him in the eye and threw a bottle, full power, toward his face. The bottle struck the roll bar of the jeep and showered the white man’s face with glass. He was cut in several places but escaped, shaken at being attacked because of the color of his skin.

The rioters were often indiscriminate about which businesses they attacked. Picked to the bone the first night were the popular hip hop fashion stores known as Deveroes. Before the riots, their advertising slogan was, “Everybody knows where you get your clothes, Deveroes.” Today it goes like this: “Everybody knows where you LOOT your clothes…” The owners, like other businessmen, will get nothing in the way of insurance coverage for damages caused by civil unrest.

Use of Weapons by Rioters:

The weapons of choice were automatic pistols and shotguns. Reports of gunfire began immediately after the riot began, and continued through the lifting of the curfew. Calibers of the guns varied widely, from the .22 caliber used to slightly wound a Cincinnati cop, all the way to 12 gauge shotguns. Rocks, bottles, fists, feet, knives and bricks were also used. One brick was thrown through the window of a business with such violent force that it stuck in the back wall like tornado damage. Flame weapons ranged from matches to Molotovs.

Use of Weapons by Police:

The police broke out almost everything in their arsenal. Cops roamed the streets armed with everything from M-16 rifles to MP-5 machineguns. All the non-lethal stuff was used, sprays, 12 gauge “beanbags” and rubber bullets, 40 mm teargas grenades and 40mm rubber bullets. No use, or even deployment, of the two armored cars owned by Cinci PD or the M113 armored personnel carrier owned by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was reported. At first we were somewhat confused at the lack of use of armored vehicles in the face of such a crowd. Then it dawned on us that this crowd was politically too sophisticated to use such vehicles. To bring them out would have resulted in the burned-out hulls of three tanks on what became sea of broken glass and debris. This crowd would have quickly destroyed them with Molotovs.

Who was involved?

On the first day and night, there were mainly angry individuals, but there were obvious local black leaders from the Black United Front, a suit and tie organization, local New Black Panthers, in their black military fatigues and berets, and some local select black ministers in the crowd. It is important here to note that the New Black Panthers broke with their tradition of bringing rifles and shotguns to demonstrations. This time they brandished no weapons. They had assessed the situation and determined that if they had pulled their guns, the Cincinnati cops would call their bluff and open up on them. My guess is that their guns were not far out of reach. The Black Panthers also openly displayed their military ranks on their uniforms. The highest rank we saw was a four star general. The Black Panthers were also the pallbearers at Thomas’ funeral.

4 Star General, Malik Zulu Shabazz, New Black Panthers

By the second day, local Nation of Islam (NOI) coordinators were seen at meetings and on the street. NOI has put over ten years into organizing and propagandizing in the Cincinnati area. NOI maintains a visible presence with well-dressed representatives selling their newspaper Final Call every week on street corners during evening rush hour. If one takes a moment to read their paper or examine their website, under the heading of “What Do Muslims Want?” you will find their list of demands—which includes a separate black homeland. The NOI doesn’t want integration or inclusion they want separation and exclusion. To them the riot wasn’t about righting wrongs; it was about taking the next step toward Civil War II.

On the third and following days more white “outside agitators” were in evidence in the crowds, throwing bottles and rocks at police lines and making sure they got photographed for the nightly news. These activists came primarily from the anti-TABD crowd who had protested the World Trade Organization meeting a few months before. They drove the local cops crazy for a few days and made a number of enemies. When some of them returned from Lexington to mix it up again, they were spotted by Cincinnati’s “Red Squad” (the political arm of the police) and immediately shot with beanbag projectiles. Their case against the cops will be before the court in a few weeks.

News Media Use of White Faces:

Most everyone outside the Cincinnati area was treated to tightly edited footage of what appeared to be integrated crowds of blacks and whites. What actually happened was that a few local white Socialist and Communist activists joined in the rioting and later were reinforced by white leftist activists from outside the city and even the region. The national media then set to work editing the footage to make it look very much unlike what it really was—a RACE RIOT.

What couldn’t be edited to pure Political Correctness was footage of exclusively black crowds rampaging about the inner city and lining streets flinging rocks and bottles at passing cars. This sort of footage did make it through the PC police. There just weren’t enough white leftists to homogenize the riot entirely. As days followed, the presence of militants, black and white, from outside the Cincinnati area grew.

Tactics used by the police:

The order from city hall to the police was to give a lot of latitude to the rioters, in order to not have additional casualties and further enflame the situation. For example, the black men doing “doughnuts” in the middle of the streets were simply ticketed for reckless driving and released. Ordinarily, they would have been arrested.

Police had observation positions high in office buildings downtown, as well as in low buildings in outlying areas.

Every helicopter in the inventory was used to its maximum. One was used specifically to follow the green Navigator SUV carrying Black Panther officers, as it ducked into Kentucky to lose its police tail. It ventured twenty miles downriver before crossing back into Ohio. They were never out of visual sight of the police.

After the Cincinnati SWAT officer was bruised by the .22 shell hitting his belt buckle, curfew was instituted and the cops got very serious. Not complying with curfew in hot zones got you quickly arrested and jailed.

Tactics used by the Fire Department:

Sniper fire and attacks by rioters on fire crews resulted in the use of police cars leading fire engines into the downtown and other hot areas. No police cars–no fire service. At one point, fires were so widespread that the fire chief radioed one of his fire company leaders and said, “You be very selective about which fires you put out. We’re stretched very thin.”

Tactics used by rioters:

Snipers were used, but not in the usual method. Instead of being up in buildings, most of the snipers simply fired from behind cars, around corners, and even when partially obscured by crowds.

Cars were used extensively. For every crowd of fifty core activists, there were up to ten cars working in unison. Often the cars would “do doughnuts” in the street to attract police, who would then be pelted with rocks and bottles.

We were witness to the use of command and control vehicles not only by the police, but by the New Black Panthers as well. The vehicles allowed the leaders of the militant groups to move between hotspots to coordinate action.

“Technicals” were used, but not as much. This we think is because of the lack of small trucks in the black community. There are many, many more small cars, but the rioters didn’t like having to deal with the doors. The obvious new favorite is the small truck.

Pincer movements were reportedly used against lines of police. The tactic was for a large crowd of rioters to send out a small squad of men to assault a police line and then flee to a chosen spot. The larger crowd would then split into a pincer shape and surround the cops, who would then have to fight their way out.

A citizen ban radio propaganda station was used for several weeks prior to the riots. Operating on channel 6, “Da’ Gangsta’” preached an emotionally charged diatribe every night, about how to “Dress up in body armor and go toe to toe wid’ da’ man.” After the rioting started, he disappeared from the airwaves.

On the last couple of days of the riots, information circulated through the black community that the cities of Dayton, Columbus, and Los Angeles were ready to join in the chaos. Black activists claimed that they were networked enough to actually spread the war nationally.

Racial beatings:

Before the city at large had become aware of how bad the situation had become, whites in cars, going home from work in the downtown area, found themselves dragged out and beaten. We even had our own Reginald Denny, with a semi driver pulled from his rig and stomped. The two worst incidents involved two, good looking young white couples that had driven over from Kentucky to visit a relative living downtown. Every window of their car was pulverized, and baseball bats and flying glass had injured the two young women. Worse still was the attack on the elderly white couple that were pulled from their car and beaten bloody.

Anyone who would justify, trivialize, or explain away such attacks is a heartless freak who deserves an ass whipping of their own.

Ethnic intimidation:

Once again our police scanner paid off. We heard reports of cars stopping in front of white people’s houses, with black men getting out and going up to the front door and confronting the homeowners. In some cases, a call had been placed to confirm that the people were home before rioters appeared at their doors.

Also heard were reports of shots fired directly into white residences.

Ethnic intimidation is listed as one of the main elements in Ethnic Cleansing.

Fair-Weather rioters:

On two occasions, weather intervened in such a way as to completely shut the crowds down and drive them indoors. On the first night of the rioting, we overheard the local Fire Chief talking with the Assistant Fire Chief about the night’s arson attempts. According to the Chief, there had been SIXTY attempts to burn down buildings in the downtown area, but the short intense rainstorms had put them out. After all the bad luck with trying to start buildings on fire, the crowds didn’t put much energy into arson the rest of the week.

On Saturday night, following the funeral of Timothy Thomas, things began getting ugly right at the 8 PM curfew. But then a cold front blew in with a driving cold rain in the lead. The chill factor dropped to 45 degrees and the streets were swept clean. Cold, wet people don’t like to riot.

In the days since the riots, much has been revealed:

The rioting resulted in over 800 arrests. While much effort has been put into comparing this riot with the 1968 riot following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., this was far bigger. There were 200 arrests following the King shooting.

The police helicopters were so taxed during the rioting, that the only machines flying today are the air ambulances used by local hospitals. Police helicopters are currently undergoing serious maintenance.

Timothy Thomas’ mother, said on the local news that if the policeman who shot her son was not “charged, tried, convicted and executed…well, this is the calm before the storm.” Had anyone else made such a statement, they would have been charged with making a terrorist threat, a felony in Ohio.

Race relations inside the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) are so bad that black police officers are quitting. The black officers will confine their fraternal activities to their own organization, The Sentinels. The logo for the Sentinels is a black Africa superimposed over a red triangle, superimposed over a badge.

Some downtown merchants have elected to leave their windows boarded up until after the trial of the police officer, in fear that rioting may erupt before or upon the verdict.

Twelve moving vans were seen today in the Over The Rhine part of downtown, moving out white residents. 

The first city council meeting since the first day of rioting was held on Tuesday, April 17. At this meeting, the local leader of the New Black Panthers looked the mayor in the eyes and said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” In other words, it’s ethnic cleansing time.

A final observation:

What amazes me the most is the dance that the local and the national media have done around these riots. When the media finally had to break down and warn Caucasians to stay out of riot areas, newscasters did so, but with a strange sense of embarrassment. They cushioned and couched their phrases so as to not offend their black audience while trying to warn their white audience of the dangers of being on Cincinnati streets. Here’s how one newscaster put it, “Unfortunately we have received reports that white people are being pulled from their cars and beaten.” It was as though newscasters were issuing the warnings under pressure.

 If you ask any average black man on the street what was transpiring the week of April 14th and you will hear the reply, “It was a race war.” But watching the news treated you to a completely different story, “There are problems with community relations and arrest procedures.” The blacks are using the correct term; the media is deliberately trying to fool the public.

What actually transpired was the first spasm of race war that has now started. It was declared by Al Sharpton following the contentious election of George W. Bush, when Sharpton said, “There’s going to be a war. I don’t know if it’s going to be violent or not, but there’s going to be a war.” The war has started and we’re all in it. Your uniform is your skin, and nothing you can do will change your color. The depth of hatred expressed and acted out during this week of rioting was shocking beyond belief. The level of violence and destruction was incredibly intense and often indiscriminate. Had the line of thunderstorms not prevented the sixty attempts to ignite buildings on the first night, the downtown area of Cincinnati would be gone today. Had the cold rain not blown in on Saturday night and swept the rioters off the streets, soldiers would be lining them today.

This entire situation begs the question: What will you do when you are confronted by someone of another race who doesn’t respond to all your “love?” What will you do when you say, “I love you brother,” and he replies, “Tough shit! Time for you to die!” Don’t laugh. It happened here in Cincinnati this week. Had those white Marxists run into a group of blacks who didn’t know them or share their politics, they would have found out for themselves what many inner city blacks think of diversity.

Let us not forget what the Black Panther said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” My guess is, this really is the calm before the storm. With summer ahead, and that means a dry season here, we probably won’t have the good fortune of well-timed thunderstorms and cold fronts. Cincinnati is bracing for a long, hot, deadly summer.

Additional Resources:

For information on Thomas and the other Cincinnati police shooting victims see:


To see the first hate-crime related article on this riot:


This article contains the threat to spread rioting nationwide:



Report prepared by Terry Mitchell, with the help of eyewitnesses, victims, and insiders.

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