No charges in city manager late night phone call to FOP leader

No charges in city manager late night phone call to FOP leader
Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black attends a special meeting of city council at City Hall, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cincinnati Police Sgt. Dan Hils at the FOP Hall in 2016 (FOX19 NOW/Jennifer Baker)
Cincinnati Police Sgt. Dan Hils at the FOP Hall in 2016 (FOX19 NOW/Jennifer Baker)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - No criminal charges will be filed against Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black related to a late night phone call to the police union leader, the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday.

"The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office reviewed the matter and decided that no criminal charges are appropriate.  The matter is now closed," the office said in a prepared statement.

FOP President Sgt. Dan Hils said Tuesday he has been talking with the prosecutor's office since he brought the issue to light last week and told them he no longer wished to pursue criminal charges.

He said he does, however, still hope to file a police report with Loveland police so there is a record of the incident "to ensure this behavior ceases both with me and any others he may have tried to intimidate in the past."

Last week, Hils said he would find it difficult to work with Black under the circumstances now. On Tuesday, he said: "I'm going to have to forge on."

Cranley has said he has no plan to fire the city manager over the phone call and three recent lawsuits by former and/or current employees alleging abuse of power.

Asked if he was disappointed in the mayor's reaction, Hils said: "That's the mayor's job, it's not mine.

Black and Cranley could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hils released a recording of the 12-minute call placed at 11:42 p.m. on Oct. 27 last week.

In a copy given to FOX19 NOW, Black accused Hils of trying to obstruct a police oversight board that investigates complaints against officers.

The board was part of the city's historic 2002 Collaborative Agreement following the 2001 riots.

Hils said the city's top administrator threatened to have him investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) because he doesn't like the way he advocates for police officers.

Black contacted Hils after Hils sought to delay a Citizen Complaint Authority meeting as it investigated a complaint against police by a charged suspect.

Hils asked the prosecutor's office to intervene to postpone the hearing.

Hils said he felt Black, who used profanities and interrupted him, was being "a bully" during the phone call and tried to intimidate and harass him.

He also said he suspected Black was intoxicated.

Hils waited more than a week to try to file a police report about the incident and to release recordings of the call to all media.

He said he held off to make sure the issue didn't influence the election, which included the close race between FOP-endorsed incumbent Mayor John Cranley and Councilwoman Yvette Simpson.

Hils said he tried to file a criminal complaint with Loveland police, but they referred the matter to the prosecutor's office to see if a crime was committed and, if so, whose jurisdiction it fell under.

Hils expressed frustration over that in several radio interviews. His lawyer sent Loveland police a letter Thursday requesting they reconsider and allow him to file a report.

Hils also filed a union grievance about the call on Thursday. The call, he wrote on the form, was harassment and "Black's inappropriate comments are in violation" of the contract between the city and police department.

His also wrote that, as a member of the FOP wage committee, he should "be free from coercion, intimidation, discrimination, transfers, threats or other detrimental action."

Last week, Black issued a statement saying he called Hils because he was concerned his actions to try to halt the CCA meeting and investigation was unprecedented and outside the normal administrative process.

He also wrote that he was concerned because of the "potential to unravel a critical tenant of the Collaborative Agreement that the City, FOP and the community entered into years ago."

Black says he was unaware the call was being recorded.

"I was and remain passionate about the topics discussed especially as it pertains to the importance of maintaining civilian oversight of our police force.

"I also want to clarify that my concerns are in no way critical of any particular police officers as I am unfamiliar with the details of this particular case. There are legal and administrative processes in place to address those questions, which is exactly what we are attempting to protect the integrity of.

"The men and women of our police force represent the best in class in terms of policing around the nation."

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