Morning News: civil rights groups call for "accountability" for FOP president; U.S. Rep. Massie gets Dem challengers

In a resolution released last night, the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP and other groups blasted Hils for “divisive rhetoric.”

click to enlarge Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge headquarters - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge headquarters

Hello all. Let’s get some news out of the way on this frigid Friday.

Civil rights groups are calling for “accountability” for Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils. In a resolution released last night, the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP, The Urban League of Southwestern Ohio, The Sentinels Police Association, the Cincinnati Black United Front and other groups blasted Hils for his “divisive rhetoric.” The groups decried a controversial move by Hils to delay officers from testifying before police accountability board the Citizens Complaint Authority and for making what they call “derogatory” comments about a black Cincinnati Police Department lieutenant.

“Dan Hils’ abuse and misuse of his position is unacceptable,” the resolution reads. “We ask that corrective disciplinary action be taken, and that clear policy and protocols be put in place when union officials make visits to the workplace for purposes of representation, and that Dan Hils receive implicit bias training that meets the requirements mutually agreed to by the City of Cincinnati and parties to this resolution.”

Hils denies the allegations by the groups and issued his own statement.

“I am confident that the investigation will reveal a significant portion of these allegations to be completely FALSE,” Hils wrote. “The narrative being manufactured that I am divisive is baseless and in itself is facilitating divisiveness in our community.”

• A former Cincinnati-based Veterans Affairs official accused of illegally prescribing pain pills is in court today, where federal prosecutors are making their case against her. Dr. Barbara Temeck is charged with prescribing opioids to the wife of a former VA director. Prosecutors say Temeck was only licensed to prescribe drugs to veterans. She surrendered her registration with the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2016 over those allegations and was dismissed from the VA.

• If you watched Cincinnati City Council’s swearing-in ceremony earlier this week, you saw the performance of a Cincinnati-themed poem by poet laureate Pauletta Hansel and other prominent local poets. You might have missed the quick jab at Children’s Hospital in the collaborative piece, however, and its massive expansion plans in Avondale. Contrary to this Cincinnati Enquirer headline, Hansel says she didn’t write the line that mourns a “neighborhood murdered by medicine,” but agrees with its viewpoint. The subject was an enormous, divisive factor in last year’s mayoral race, with Avondale residents and mayoral candidate Yvette Simpson opposing the way in which Children’s planned to go about a $500 million expansion that will require the demolition of about a dozen historic homes and the relocation of several families. Mayor John Cranley — and a majority of city council — backed that plan.

• The Bengals won this past Sunday, and that made the Buffalo Bills very happy. Now fans of the team are paying that forward. By toppling the Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals opened the door to the Bills’ first playoff appearance in almost two decades. Bills fans are understandably ecstatic and have been donating to Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s charity to thank him for his clutch game-winning touchdown pass in the game’s final moments. Many have been chipping in $17 — the number of years the team has struggled with its playoff drought — to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, which gives money and trips to Cincinnati and Texas children experiencing serious illness and their parents. All those donations have added up — Dalton says the foundation has received $250,000 in contributions since the game. The Bills also sent Bengals players thousands of chicken wings, which is pretty cool, too.

 • The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if Ohio’s move taking thousands of inactive voters off its voter registration rolls was illegal. Arguments are set to begin Jan. 10 in the case, which revolves around a state practice of removing registration for voters who haven’t voted in two years. A federal appeals court last year ruled that practice illegal following a 2016 lawsuit. Ohio started using the practice in 1994.

• U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a tea party Republican who represents Northern Kentucky, has a couple Democrats competing to take him on in the 2018 elections. Massie, a staunch conservative in a deep-red district, has had an easy time since his first election in 2012. He says he’s not worried about challenges from Trimble County’s Christina Lord, who jumped into the race back in November, and Bellevue businesswoman Pattie Piatt. Massie has shrugged off the challengers, but Piatt says she believes dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and with Congress could mean trouble for the incumbent.

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