Morning News: Black Police Association casts vote of no confidence in FOP president; county won't pay Bengals $2.6 million

Hamilton County Commissioners President Todd Portune says part of the county's stadium deal with the Bengals isn’t legally enforceable and that he’s pushing for a contract renegotiation.

click to enlarge Paul Brown Stadium - Photo: Derek Jensen
Photo: Derek Jensen
Paul Brown Stadium

Happy Friday, Cincy. Here’s some quick news to take us into the weekend.

The police association representing black Cincinnati officers last night cast a unanimous vote of no confidence in Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils. That vote comes after increasing tension between Hils, city of Cincinnati officials and black officers. Last month, controversy erupted after Hils worked to delay two Cincinnati police officers accused of racial profiling and excessive force from having to testify before the city’s Citizen Complaint Authority as their accuser stood trial. Then, CPD lieutenant Danita Pettis, who is black, filed an internal complaint against the FOP president, saying he undermined her authority by complaining about her to her subordinates. During comments made to officers under Pettis’ command, Hils also called Avondale, which is predominantly black, an “urban ghetto.”

“Sgt. Hils does not value or respect CPD’s African American officers,” Sentinel Police Association President Eddie Hawkins wrote in a statement after the vote. “We pay the same dues to the FOP as our white counterparts and deserve to be treated equally. Based on Sgt. Hils’ treatment of African American officers seeking his assistance for representation during his tenure as FOP President, we are unable to trust Sgt. Hils, and thus the Fraternal Order of Police, to represent African American officers.”

• Starting next year, Hamilton County taxpayers will owe the Cincinnati Bengals $2.67 million for costs related to game day cleanup and security. That’s a holdover of the deal the county struck with the team in the 1990s around Paul Brown Stadium, and those costs will escalate until the end of the Bengal’s contract in 2026. But… the county isn’t about to pay up, says Hamilton County Commissioners President Todd Portune. Portune says a legal opinion from a previous Hamilton County prosecutor says that portion of the deal isn’t legally enforceable, and that he’s pushing for a contract renegotiation. No one’s dragged anyone to court just yet, but with the payment due at the beginning of next year, that could happen.

• Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 22 people in Northern Kentucky during a two-day operation earlier this week. The Department of Homeland Security has released few details about the arrests, saying only that those arrested are suspected undocumented immigrants. DHS said it would release more information about the operation today.

• Speaking of law enforcement and votes of no confidence, let’s take a trip up to Butler County, where the county sheriff’s union took just such a vote against county prosecutor Mike Gmoser Wednesday night. What’s going on with our neighbors to the north? It’s kinda a mess and you can read more in this Cincinnati Enquirer story, but I’ll hit you with the basic outline. Gmoser has called Butler County Sheriff Deputy Jasen Hatfield “a rogue deputy" and accused him of overcharging suspects at traffic stops, something that Hatfield has had at least one complaint about. Gmoser has also pointed to a Facebook post in which Hatfield calls himself, somewhat hilariously, “a fucking supercop” and says the deputy should be investigated. Hatfield promptly hit Gmoser with a lawsuit over those remarks, and now he’s rallied the deputy’s union behind him. The union’s vote doesn’t have a lot of practical implications, but it’s certainly not great for Gmoser.

• Would you like a job speaking for a U.S. Senate candidate caught in the middle of allegations that he had sex with teenagers when he was in his 30s? No? That’s OK. Janet Folger Porter does. She represents Roy Moore, the Republican running in a special election for one of Alabama’s Senate seats, and she’s from Ohio, because of course she is. Moore has had some pretty gross — and substantially reported — allegations leveled against him by multiple women in the Washington Post recently. Among them: that he fondled a 14 year old and attempted romantic relationships with other underage women when he was a grown man. But Folger Porter doesn’t believe any of that, she says, claiming the women are acting. She's gone down to Alabama to be Moore's spokesperson, she says, because that's where the fight for our freedom is happening. It is unclear to what freedom she is referring. The northern Ohio native is no stranger to controversy. She’s been a longtime pro-life activist who drafted Ohio’s highly contentious “heartbeat bill,” which would have heavily restricted abortions in the state. That bill passed through the Ohio State House but was vetoed by Republican Gov. John Kasich because he believed it was unconstitutional.

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