A third Cincinnati Police officer has been suspended for using the n-word while on duty in 2022, according to a Sept. 12 press release from the city.
In the announcement, interim CPD chief Teresa Theetge said the investigation into the use of the word is standard, but she did not clarify the context of the situation or the race of the officer under investigation.
“It is my duty and responsibility to ensure that every allegation of misconduct by any member of this organization be investigated,” Theetge said. “Regardless of the circumstances, a complete and thorough investigation will be conducted by our Internal Investigations Section (IIS). Under my leadership, it is standard practice to temporarily suspend police powers until an investigation into the use of a racial slur is complete.”
CityBeat has reached out to CPD to request information about the officer as well as documents related to the investigation but has not received a response as of press time.
City manager Sheryl Long said in the release that she fully supports the investigation.
“We hold our sworn officers to a high standard, which is why it’s very important that the disciplinary process proceed,” Long said. “Every case must go through the same, thorough investigation and critical review in order to avoid undermining the legitimacy of the process. I expect any decision will strictly adhere to the City’s disciplinary procedures.”
This announcement marks the third known internal investigation into an officer using a slur on the job in 2022.
In August, city officials fired officer Rose Valentino, who was caught using a racist slur while on duty outside of Western Hills University High School in April. Valentino, who is white, was caught on her body camera footage saying, “Fucking n******s, I fucking hate them!” while pounding her fist on the steering wheel of her cruiser.
In November of 2021, officer Kelly Drach, who is white, yelled the slur, ‘Sand n****r!” on two known occasions while working the desk in CPD’s Real Time Crime Center, according to an internal report provided to CityBeat.
Drach ultimately was suspended for seven days without pay, which she served in May. According to the report, District Four commander Mark Burns made the recommendation because Drach repeated the slur weeks later.
Some city leaders are pushing for a change to City Code 25 to include a zero-tolerance rule for uses of racial or ethnic slurs: "Except when approved by a supervisor, any use of a racial or ethnic remark, slur, epithet, word or gesture requires dismissal on the first violation," the proposed policy change reads. The city plans to revisit the issue this month.