Police charged in crash cover-up plead not guilty

Police charged in crash cover-up plead not guilty

The case of a veteran Cincinnati Police sergeant and an officer charged with covering up a fellow officer's crash went to court Thursday.

Officer Jason Cotterman and Sgt. Richard Sulfsted pleaded not guilty on misdemeanor charges of obstruction of justice and dereliction of duty. The officers entered a written plea and did not appear in court.

Both officers are accused of pulling Sgt. Andrew Mitchell from a single vehicle crash March 22 in on West McMicken Avenue.

According to court records, they concealed him from witnesses and arranged for him to be taken home instead of citing him for reckless operation of a vehicle.

A man who witnessed the crash called 911 and told a dispatcher Mitchell was "drunk as hell."

Cincinnati police's internal affairs unit has been investigating the incident for months. The probe led to all three officers being stripped of their police powers, guns and badges. They were placed on paid desk duty pending the outcome of the cases.

Mitchell was charged with reckless driving, failure to maintain reasonable control of a motor vehicle and a seat belt violation.

His lawyer has entered pleas of not guilty on his behalf, court records show.

He returns to court July 30 for a pre-trial hearing before Judge Bernie Bouchard.

Mitchell has come under controversy before. He shot and killed David "Bones" Hebert while responding to a fight between Hebert and a friend four years ago.

Officers found Hebert with a female companion. They said he was intoxicated and had trouble standing.

Police have said Bones swiped a switchblade at officers, so Mitchell shot him.

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