Morning News: new bill would restrict access to some police body camera footage; judge blocks Trump on funding cuts to sanctuary cities

Cincinnati City Council next week will take a first look at Mayor John Cranley’s FC Cincinnati stadium proposal, as county commissioners move to approve their side of the funding.

click to enlarge Stadium rendering by FC Cincinnati - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Stadium rendering by FC Cincinnati

Hello all. Let’s talk news real quick.

Cincinnati City Council next week will take a first look at Mayor John Cranley’s proposal to pour more than $36 million into infrastructure around the proposed FC Cincinnati stadium in Oakley. Our story out this morning has everything you need to know about the deal, including where council members stand on the plan. Here’s a spoiler: Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld released a lengthy statement this morning outlining his opposition.

• In other soccer news, Hamilton County commissioners will sign off on a major component of Cranley’s plan, letting the city tap its portion of a Hamilton County hotel tax to funnel as much as $1.5 million a year toward infrastructure for the project. But there are some other potential sticking points, as the Cincinnati Business Courier reports: Cranley’s deal hinges on the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority taking ownership of the stadium — something Hamilton County commissioners say hasn’t been decided yet. That ownership structure would make the stadium exempt from property taxes and sales taxes on building supplies. The port says it will only step in for the deal if the city and county agree.

• Should personal conversations between police officers be public record when they’re captured on body cameras? Some lawmakers think not. A bill introduced by State Reps. Niraj Antani, a Republican, and Hearcel Craig, a Democrat, would make most body camera footage available to the public except in certain circumstances. That includes the aforementioned conversations as well as footage of dead bodies, nudity, sex acts, the interiors of private homes and businesses and footage that could reveal the identity of a victim of sexual assault. The bill would allow victims to approve release of that footage, and departments could redact the videos as well.

• Back in September, President Donald Trump issued an executive order ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and giving Congress six months to figure out how to address undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors. Congress has been deadlocked on ways forward on immigration reform or even legislation providing clarity for those who received DACA status under President Barack Obama. With time ticking down to a March deadline, local immigration activists and young DACA recipients aren’t taking the stalemate sitting down. You can read about their stories — and their push to get Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform — here.

click to enlarge Cincinnati Police district one headquarters - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati Police district one headquarters

• Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils says a proposed cancer cluster study of Cincinnati Police Department’s District 5 headquarters isn’t sufficient because it won’t include officers who worked at the facility diagnosed before 2015. That precludes counting most of the six officers who died of cancer in 2015 and 2016, and some of the 13 other personnel who worked at the facility who were diagnosed with the disease. The facility has raised concerns due to the high number of cancer cases among employees who have worked there, though tests have yet to find a cause for that. Hils is calling the limited scope of the cluster study, which will be conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, “a snow job.”

• What happens to police officers who are dismissed from local departments for complaints and rule violations? Sometimes, they end up at other, nearby departments that don’t do thorough background checks. That’s the case for several officers mentioned in this WCPO piece who joined small town departments like Elmwood Place Police and racked up citizen and internal complaints only to cycle through to another small department after getting fired or resigning.

• As Cincinnati fights over whether to build a stadium to support FC Cincinnati’s bid for a Major League Soccer franchise, Columbus is fighting an uphill battle to keep its MLS team in the city. Columbus Crew owners have been eying a move to Austin unless the city invests $90 million in a soccer stadium for the team. Elected officials there say that’s unlikely to happen, though they’re also scrambling to find a way to convince the team to stay.

• A federal judge has permanently blocked an executive order by President Trump that sought to block federal funding to cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officials. U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick yesterday ruled in response to a lawsuit from San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties in California that Trump can’t dictate new conditions for funding already approved by Congress, cutting off a key mechanism by which the president has sought to punish so-called “sanctuary cities.” The administration has appealed that ruling.

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