Good morning all. Here’s the news today.
The University of Cincinnati has big changes to make to its police department, an independent report commissioned by the university says. UC yesterday unveiled the final report by outside consulting firm Exiger, which highlighted 14 main findings and 25 main recommendations in the wake of former UC officer Ray Tensing’s killing of unarmed black motorist Samuel Dubose during a routine traffic stop last July. Among those findings: UCPD needs a mission statement that clearly lays out its role in the community, needs to end use of traffic stops as a crime-fighting tool, update its conflict resolution, bias avoidance, and other training, hire a more diverse force and completely upgrade its citizen complaint process. The report also recommends bringing back Tasers, a controversial suggestion. Two civilian deaths have occurred due to UC police Taser use since 2011. Investigators with Exiger say that while there are dangers involved in Taser use, with proper training and policies in place they can help save lives. UC held two public hearings yesterday rolling out the report, and officials with the school promised to follow its recommendations.
• The U.S. Department of Justice will get the first shot at sorting through the legal ramifications of the big mess at the Metropolitan Sewer District, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said yesterday. The feds are on the case now, according to Deters, and he won’t pursue his own investigation until they’re finished. Revelations that leadership at MSD spent as much as $680 million without outside oversight sparked an internal audit of the sewer district. That audit, released earlier this week, revealed big problems with MSD’s contracting practices and a marked lack of checks and balances within and outside the organization.
• Homelessness is going up in Greater Cincinnati, but social service agencies are working to combat that spike. A seasonal increase is expected as the summer kicks off, but groups like the Interfaith Hospitality Network, Churches Active In Northside and Strategies to End Homelessness are collaborating to try to meet the extra demand. The increase in homelessness is caused by a number of factors — lack of affordable housing, job losses, less emphasis on providing shelter in the warmer summer months and other reasons, experts say.
• As we told you about earlier this week, yesterday was the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. John Boehner, and the six percent of those who turned out to vote chose GOP candidate Warren Davidson, a tea party-aligned businessman with little government experience. Davidson won by a convincing 70-plus percent of the vote. Political science experts say the low turnout isn’t uncommon for special elections, especially those that aren’t especially competitive .Boehner represented the suburbs north of Cincinnati in parts of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, Mercer and Preble Counties for more than two decades and rose to become speaker of the house before resigning last year due to rancor within the Republican Party.
• Speaking of party rancor, as the Democratic primary slips away from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, he’s lashing out at one of his former friends in the Senate. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who represents Ohio, has been one of Sanders’ most reliable progressive allies when it comes to legislating, but he’s not been much help to him on the primary campaign trail — Brown is backing Sanders’ rival, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Lately, that’s caused a lot of friction between the two. An article in Politico has Sanders aides saying Brown is “a chicken” for backing Clinton, and indicating that Sanders wouldn’t support the gruff-voiced Ohio Senator for a VP slot on the party ticket. Ouch.
• Finally, about that Democratic primary race: It is, for all intents and purposes, over. Clinton claimed big victories in California, New Jersey, South Dakota and New Mexico yesterday, more or less sealing her primary win and making her the first major-party female presumptive presidential nominee in history. With her victories last night, Clinton is riding at 2,168 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 1,777. In addition, Clinton has the stated support of 572 super delegates to Sanders’ 47. Clinton needs 2,383 delegates to win the primary. Some critics have pointed out that super delegates, usually powerful party officials who can choose which candidate they back all the way up to the convention, should not be counted in the preliminary tallies, and that Sanders still has a chance at victory. However, even Sanders has acknowledged that his path to a win at this point is “very, very steep.” Sanders hasn’t suspended his campaign, however, vowing to fight on through next Tuesday’s Washington, DC primary, despite the mathematical near-impossibility of an upset.