What’s Going On: Black Cincinnati Police Officer Suspended for Using the the N-Word

CINCINNATI — The second police officer in four months has been suspended from an Ohio police department for using “the ‘N’ word” while on duty, according to the police chief.

This time, however, it was a black officer. He had been reprimanded, but now Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac says the previous investigation wasn’t done right.

The September incident involved Officer Donte Hill. It came to the chief’s attention after Isaac suspended Officer Dennis Barnette – who is white – for using what Isaac called “the ‘N’ word” during an arrest Saturday night outside the Brownstone Cafe in Cincinnati’s Roselawn neighborhood.

Body cameras recorded the racial slurs in both incidents, Isaac told city officials in an email.

City Manager Patrick Duhaney shared the email with the Enquirer and provided his email response after being asked about it. He did not provide additional comment.

‘Unacceptable’ language

When Barnette’s case came to light Wednesday, several council members called for him to be fired. An internal investigation has been opened.

Part of that investigation was looking at discipline in other cases where the word was used, bringing the Hill case to Isaac’s attention.

“Again this type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated inside the department,” Isaac wrote in an email Friday to the mayor and city council members.

The investigations are being done under administrative regulations that say city employees cannot say, do or use language that is offensive to another person. The regulation allows for a wide range of punishment, including termination.

Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils said officers routinely hear the slur used on the street.

“Although we hear it often…there is no place for it in a professional capacity,” Hils said.

City manager Duhaney, in his email, explained Hill was only reprimanded because the matter was incorrectly categorized when presented to Isaac.

“Both Chief Isaac and I deem this type of language as unacceptable not in line with the standard of conduct we expect from city employees,” he wrote.

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Source: USA Today