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Ferguson can learn from 2001 Cincinnati riots

CINCINNATI (Brad Underwood) -- The fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, has former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher remembering what he calls one of the worst conditions in the history of the United States in terms of police and community relations.
The 2001 riots followed the shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas. Streicher says he sees a lot of similarities between what happened in Cincinnati 13 years ago to what's happening now in Ferguson.

"We didn't talk about it for a few days, that just fed into the suspicion that the police department was covering something up," said Streicher.

The lack of information from police to the public causes people to act out of frustration, creating chaos says Streicher. But it's how Cincinnati moved forward that may help Ferguson.

"Opening the doors saying here are the facts, here is the information, here's the evidence we have and here's some of the video that we have, the facts as we know them," said Streicher.

Information from police wasn't released for several days causing riots and protests in the St. Louis suburb. Streicher says first things first-- get control of the streets, solve the case, then start listening.

"They're going to be criticizing the police, criticizing the government, criticize a lot of what has occurred there and the people that are in charge are going to have to grow some thick skin," said Streicher. "They have to engage the entire community and make them a part of this resolution process with every effort from this point forward. If they don't do that they will fail."

From the meetings with the public, Streicher says he believes strong ties can be built in Ferguson after time. But it starts with honesty from both police and the public about what happened and what to do next.

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