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Arrest details sketchy

By Jennifer Edwards, Post staff reporter

Nine days after Roger Owensby Jr. died in police custody, Police Chief Thomas Streicher concedes it still is not clear why officers were arresting him in the first place.

Owensby, 29, of College Hill, died from either a chokehold or ''piling on'' when police tried to arrest him Nov. 7, according to the Hamilton County coroner.

''We don't have the exact answers to why,'' Streicher said Wednesday. ''That simply has not been determined yet, but there are a number of theories.''

Those theories, he said, which include Owensby being apprehended because officers recognized him from a prior assault on an officer, are ''only speculation.''

There is no documentation of such an offense, according to City Manager John Shirey and police records.

Black leaders have accused police of approaching Owensby because of racial profiling, in which a person is stopped and questioned because of his appearance.

The five officers involved have asserted their right to remain silent. And Streicher said he would not reveal any details of the investigation prematurely.

''If we don't follow the rules, then we wind up with a botched investigation,'' he said.

Publication date: 11-16-00






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