Revolutionary Worker #1114, August 12, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
We received the following article from a correspondent:
April 2001 in Cincinnati: the police murder 19-year-old Timothy Thomas--the 15th Black man killed by the police since 1995. For three days, people rise up in rebellion, outraged and angry at the cold-blooded murder of the unarmed young man. The cop Roach who killed Timothy is given misdemeanor charges--while people arrested during the rebellion are convicted of felonies and many are given long prison sentences.
Months later, the situation is by no means resolved. There are weekly protests demanding amnesty for the rebels and an end to police brutality. The youth feel theyíre still under the gun of the police.
At the same time, the city government has been trying to find ways to "bring back order" and "restore faith in our police." Cincinnati officials have appeared on national TV programs like Nightline and radio stations like NPR, trying to portray the cops as victims; they whine that "the police are afraid to patrol now" in Black neighborhoods because they are accused of racism any time they arrest anyone. Front-page articles in the Cincinnati papers cry crocodile tears over a recent increase in shootings among the people and demand "a stronger police presence" in the neighborhoods where the oppressed live. Keith Fangman, head of the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police, and Mayor Luken are pushing for more cops in the neighborhoods in order to "stop crime." But when the police kill someone, there is no outcry from the racist power structure in Cincinnati.
On Friday morning, July 27, at 12:05 a.m., a white Cincinnati cop fired his 9mm five times at 21-year-old Ricky Moore from 25 feet away. The cop then went to the trunk of his police car, pulled out a shotgun, and fired twice more. Ricky was hit in the neck, torso, and side of his face. He was declared dead at the hospital at 12:33 a.m. Ricky became the 16th Black man killed by Cincinnati police since 1995.
"They say they protecting us from him (Ricky). Everybody out here know he wouldnít do nothing to us. He like family to everybody out here." "He loved to rap. We called him Rick James."
friends of Ricky Moore
Everyone in the neighborhood of Millvale Projects knew Ricky. A memorial went up at the site of his murder, right near the rec center. Friends, little kids, women coming from church, and family members visited the memorial, putting things down for Ricky. Little kids donated their teddy bears to the memorial because he had been so nice to them. There were bouquets of flowers, a wooden cross, pieces of cardboard with messages, bottles of his favorite vodka, his favorite CDís, Newport cigarettes, bags of Doritos, figurines of angels and doves, a picture of him and his mother. One youth put some spare change on the memorial and said, "Ricky was always trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents."
Ricky Moore lived a hard life. He grew up in the projects. He had gone to prison. He saw his cousin beaten to death in 1997. He had been diagnosed with mental problems and hospitalized five times. People in the neighborhood knew about his problems and tried to help.
In the last couple days of his life, Ricky carried a shotgun with him wherever he went. His friends and family knew that something was not right. His mom tried to get him to put the gun down. His friends talked to him and made a plan to get the shotgun away from him. One friend talked to Ricky three hours before he was killed, and Ricky told him, "You ainít gonna see me tomorrow, Iím tired." Some people thought Ricky was carrying the shotgun because he had been threatened, some thought he was paranoid, others just didnít know.
The police also knew Ricky had mental problems and that he had been walking around for at least two days with the shotgun. So why did the cop, Thomas Haas, confront Ricky at midnight, fire from his 9mm and then fire some more with a shotgun? Why was Haas by himself? Why didnít Haas call for back-up before he fired? Why didnít Haas wound Ricky or use a bean-bag gun, rather than killing him outright? Why hasnít Rickyís family been allowed to see the videotape from Haasís police car? There are many questions about the shooting of Ricky Moore. And people in the neighborhood want to know the answers.
Haas is reported to be an expert marksman, trained in the military. According to news reports, in 1996 Haas pulled a knit stocking cap over a manís face and called him "n*gger." Haas had a prior run-in with Ricky. And Haas had been in a shoot-out three weeks before in Over-the-Rhine (the neighborhood where the police killed Timothy Thomas).
Police have been all over the news talking about how this was a shoot-out started by Ricky--but they havenít given any evidence to back this up. Essie Hurt, Ricky Mooreís mother, has announced that there was a witness to the shooting who saw something quite different than what the police claim happened. On radio station WBZD, Essie Hurt said, "Ricky was putting the gun down. They shot him first in the chest. His gun did not once get fired off."
"When I see police Iíll run, cuz Iím scared of the police." "The police are killiní everybody, thatís why we donít got no respect for them."
Black youth from the
Millvale Projects neighborhood
"Iím concerned cuz I got three young black males myself. They got to go to work, they got to come outside, they got to live their lives. Iím gonna be afraid." "The police walk around with their guns out when theyíre looking for somebody. And thereís all these little kids out here playing!"
women in Millvale Projects
Millvale Projects is a community where everybody knows each other and looks out for each other. But the police are always hassling people who live there, as well as friends and family who come to visit. They constantly arrest people for "criminal trespass" when they come to visit family and friends in the projects. People have been arrested and hit with jail time and a police record just for trying to see their kids. There was a lot of anger in the neighborhood about this. Ricky had also been arrested and sent to jail for criminal trespass at Millvale; when he didnít have a place to stay, he would come to stay with his girlfriend or mom.
Ricky was killed around midnight. The next day, someone from the neighborhood put out a flier and organized a candlelight vigil. 150 people came out for Ricky, and the police stayed away. The flier said, "In loving memory of Ricky Moore" and showed a beautiful picture of him with his mother.
The bourgeois media rushed to call the shooting of Ricky justified because he had a shotgun, and they praised Haas as a model cop. But NOBODY in Rickyís neighborhoods thinks this murder is justified.
Police representatives, reactionary radio hosts, and politicians from Cincinnati have been all over the national media talking about the need to give the police a free hand--using the recent wave of shootings in the Black neighborhoods as justification. The authorities have formed a new Violent Crimes Task Force and are lobbying for more funds for the police.
The people canít allow the power structure to use the shootings in the neighborhoods as a means to create public opinion in favor of the police. Violence among the people CANNOT be solved by bringing in more police to brutalize and kill. The police killing of Ricky Moore once again shows who the REAL criminals are.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)