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Anger, Protests And Destruction: How Do We Define The Events Of 2001?

Local 12 WKRC
Protests outside District 1 in April 2001.

If you ask anyone in Cincinnati who lived through the events of 2001 to describe what happened after the officer-involved shooting death of Timothy Thomas, you'll get many different accounts. To some, riots broke out in the streets with days of looting and violence and buildings vandalized. Others saw protesters striving to raise awareness for an injustice, and in doing so, disrupted the typical social order. We would call this civil unrest.

Similar protests in the years since 2001, including in Ferguson and Baltimore, have been described as "riots," "uprisings" and "civil unrest" at different times. So what defines the events of 2001 and what responsibility does the media have in reporting on these movements?

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss is Northern Kentucky University Department of Communication Assistant Professor Steve Bien-Aimé, Ph.D. We want to note that Dr. Bien-Aimé is a community board member of Cincinnati Public Radio.

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