Prosecutor granted court order to delay police oversight board hearing

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters received a court order Monday delaying a police watchdog agency hearing set for Tuesday.

The temporary restraining order relates to a criminal case that led to a Cincinnati Citizen Complaint Authority complaint against a Cincinnati police officer.

James Crawley, 25, faces one count of assault on a police officer, Richard Sullivan, in connection with an Aug. 8 incident in the 200 block of West McMicken Avenue, court records show. Crawley is also charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespass.

A female called  police asking for help with a possible domestic situation at her residence, Deters' office said Monday. Sullivan and another officer responded to the call and found male relatives refusing to leave.

Crawley got into an altercation with Sullivan and another officer and had to be shocked with a Taser stun gun to be taken into custody.

Now, CCA cannot hold a hearing on the matter - and require police to testify before their board - until the criminal case is resoled in the courts. A jury trial is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 11 before Judge Jody Luebbers.

Deters said Monday he is only seeking a short delay.

"We asked them to delay their hearing until after the criminal case and they refused, so we had no option but to file a TRO," he said in a prepared statement.

"Our concern is that this Citizen Complaint Authority hearing, which compels testimony by the officers, could impact the criminal case.

"Once the criminal case is concluded, the Citizen Complaint Authority can have their hearing. My only goal is to make sure that the police officers in this case have their criminal case protected."

CCA resulted from the city of Cincinnati's landmark 2002 Collaborative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the cornerstone of the post-2001 riot police reforms.

Seven trained board members, with a staff of full-time investigators, were to hear complaints and allegations from the public of Cincinnati police misconduct, identify trends and make recommendations to the city manager.

CCA replaced and combined the Citizens Police Review Panel and the Office of Municipal Investigation (OMI), which critics said were ineffective.

The court order halting the CCA hearing upset community activists like Iris Roley. The Bond Hill business owner is a member of Black United Front, one of the groups that signed off on the 2002 Collaborative with the ACLU, city of Cincinnati and union that represents Cincinnati police.

"I can't stress enough of how important this is to the citizens having an independent arm of investigation when citizens complain against its police force," Roley wrote on Facebook. "This is VERY serious."

Police, however, have warily regarded the CCA since its inception.

And now, the independent agency that is supposed to help settle citizen complaints against police is short-staffed, underfunded and behind on its work, according to FOX19 NOW media partner, Cincinnati Enquirer.

In fact, the newspaper reported last year, it's struggling so much city officials have acknowledged it doesn't function as intended and no longer complies with the Collaborative.

It is expected to be reviewed as part of the Collaborative's current "refresh."

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