Chief: Cop shooter sentence "a slap in the face to law enforceme - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Chief: Cop shooter sentence "a slap in the face to law enforcement"

Vincent Phillips III (Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office) Vincent Phillips III (Provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - As hundreds of Tri-State police officers and their supporters honored those who have died in the line of duty earlier this week with ceremonies and a march, a Hamilton County judge handed down a decision that "was a slap in the face to law enforcement," a local police chief tells FOX19 NOW.

North College Hill police and Hamilton County prosecutors are appalled a gunman convicted of shooting twice at an officer, narrowly missing him, was sentenced to less than the minimum on Monday. 

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Foley sentenced Vincent Phillips, 19, III to 12 years in prison, with a year credit toward time already served. 

The former North College Hill High School student was convicted on five felonies including attempted murder on a police officer. The maximum sentence was 28 years. County prosecutors asked for at least 20.

One of the shots he fired at Officer Shaun Miller on May 20, 2014, narrowly missed the married father of three children.

"His intent wasn't to shoot to get away," Police Chief Gary Foust told FOX19 NOW Wednesday. "His intent, in our opinion, was to actually strike and kill the officer or he wouldn't have shot twice."

The sentencing floored Foust, who said prosecutors presented a strong case that only took the jury a short time - just an hour and 20 minutes including their lunch break - to return a verdict.

"This was pretty much an open and shut case. I think the judge's decision wasn't representative of the community and was a travesty and was a slap in the face to law enforcement," the chief said.

Phillips has been held on $1 million bond at the county jail since his May, 20, 2014 arrest. He has no prior adult record but does have juvenile convictions of two counts each of theft and disorderly conduct.

He was drunk when he opened fire his .40-semi automatic handgun at Officer Shaun Miller. At the time, the officer was chasing him and standing just 8 to 12 feet away. Phillips, who had the stolen gun in his pants, fled from police when they tried to break up an illegal dice game about 10:45 p.m. at Sterling and Betts avenue.

After the shots were fired, a manhunt ensued with dozens of officers responding from nearby police agencies. Miller took Phillips into custody a short time later without further incident.

"At no time did this individual ever show any remorse," the chief said. "He did not show any remorse the night of the shooting. He told police "I wish I had killed that b---- a-- cop."

Phillips also testified during his trial he "doesn't like police officers," Foust said.

Miller, a 10-year law enforcement veteran, remains on third shift, protecting and serving North College Hill residents.

The incident hit his young family hard.

"I think the important thing to note here is not only the psychological impact it has on the officer, but also the impact it has on the officer's family," Foust said. "Certainly the wife and kids understand the perils of the job. But when this becomes a reality, every time he leaves for work now I think that heightens that expectation: Is he going to come home?"

The chief said he hopes the judge's decision can be somehow appealed. 

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office says they are reviewing the matter.

FOX19 now has requests for comment into the judge - who was just elected to the bench last year - and Phillips' attorney, Clyde Bennett.

For more on this story, be sure to watch FOX19 NOW and visit www.fox19.com

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