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What Missouri can learn from Cincinnati

CINCINNATI (Paula Toti) -- There was more unrest in Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by police Saturday, August 9th 2014.

At one point officers used tear gas and flash bangs to subdue crowds that were protesting.  Earlier in the night, a smaller riot forced a mall to close early.  Sunday night, 32 people were arrested for looting and burning stores.  This came after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed after an altercation with a police officer.

All the unrest may evoke memories of the 2001 riots in Cincinnati.  When you look at a vibrant downtown and trendy restaurants and condos in Over-The-Rhine where there was once looting and rioting, 2001 could seem like a very long time ago.  Local 12 talked with a couple of people who were high profile during that troubled time.

Both talk show host Lincoln Ware and Charlie Luken, who was mayor at the time of the Cincinnati riots, felt in Missouri there was  an opportunity for both sides to start listening to each other.  They felt that could help create long term, positive change.

But Luken said the first thing is to restore law and order, "I mean nobody is going to back progress looting a grocery store.  Whether it's a curfew, you need before cooler head prevail."

Both agreed tensions must have been building a long time.  Ware said police needed to respond quickly with information even if all the facts weren't in yet.  He felt it was a big problem before 2001 in Cincinnati.

"There was a lot of tension built up.  A lot of shootings and it would be days before we'd hear from police.  People were fed up, thought a cover-up is why it took so long," Ware remembered.

He doesn't feel that way anymore.   While several things changed in Cincinnati, some are stand-outs.

"I think the collaborative agreement was the piece that straightened things out," said Ware.

An agreement led to community oriented policing and a Citizen's Complaint Authority was started to review police use of force.

"The Citizens Complaint Authority used to get 40 to 50 complaints against police a month.  Now one or two," Lunken said.

A lot has changed when it comes to police training and procedures in Cincinnati as well. The computers in cruisers give detailed information on someone's criminal record and there are fewer situations where there's a foot pursuit.

In 2003, the city of Cincinnati bought all officers updated tasers.  This followed the death of an African-American man with drugs in his system who died after he was hit with police batons.

CLICK HERE for article: FBI opens investigation into St. Louis shooting

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