FOP leader's grievance over 'midnight caller' denied

FOP leader's grievance over 'midnight caller' denied
Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black (Provided by the City of Cincinnati)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The city of Cincinnati's human resources department has denied a grievance from the police union president alleging City Manager Harry Black made several threats and attempts to coerce and intimidate him from advocating for officers during a late night phone call.

No threats were made and no harm is evident, wrote Ed Ramsey, HR Analyst, in a memo to Sgt. Dan Hils that was copied to Police Chief Eliot Isaac, Darla Meadows in Personnel and HR Director Joe Wilson.

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When Black called Hils at 11:42 p.m. on Oct 27, Black "felt time was of the essence" due to an impending request Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters made, asking the courts to delay a planned Citizen Complaint Authority meeting in which officers were going to be compelled to testify about a pending criminal case that resulted in the suspect filing  a complaint against the officers.

Hils reached out to Deters to get a restraining order issued to halt the hearing until after the case was resolved in court in December. Black objected and accused Hils of interfering with the CCA, a cornerstone of the landmark 2002 Collaborative Agreement following the 2001 riots that reformed police community relations.

Black threatened in the call Hils to sic the U.S. Justice Department and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on him. He also threatened to pull out of the collaborative and blame the police department.

"The City does not apologize for passionate engagement in the Collaborative Agreement. No attempts to undermine it will go overlooked or uninvestigated," wrote Ramsey in the memo.

"The City will not hesitate to engage the Department of Justice, or any other appropriate authority, if it believes the Collaborative Agreement or its mission is in jeopardy."

However, Ramsey wrote, while the city manager from time to time may need to communicate with the FOP and parties to the Collaborative Agreement, "for non-emergencies, he will limit phone calls to the FOP president during reasonable hours."

Hils wrote in a Facebook post this week he will not pursue the grievance process further and referred to Black as "the Midnight Caller."

In an interview he elaborated: "It's not truly prosecutorial but it's clearly a violation of criminal state law and clearly a violation of the labor agreement."

The city's response to his grievance, he said shows Blacks's "continued arrogance."

"In the city's findings, for them to suggest that time was of the essence in his mind and that's why he called - a man who hasn't called in probably about 18 months - doesn't call me during the work day or week, waits until almost midnight when I have to assume he probably had done something after work un-work related, to come say that time was of the essence and that's why the call was made insults the intelligence of everybody who reads it."

"To think if a tiny bit of humility would have come out and said 'the manager just wishes to pass along his apologies and wishes to move on' or something to that extent would have been so much more satisfactory."

We reached out to Black for a response through a city spokesman but did not hear back.

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