Allegations of ‘odd’ and inappropriate behavior before police chief’s firing

Darnell Pate was working off-duty security detail at a Mt. Healthy bar while chief of police.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 9:49 PM EDT
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CLINTON COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - The police chief recently fired from New Vienna after allegedly arresting a man without a warrant was previously let go from one Tri-State police department and was the subject of an inquiry by another for behavior described as “odd.”

Darnell Pate served as New Vienna’s police chief for a matter of months before he was terminated after a judge determined he acted without legal authority in arresting a man, towing his vehicle and “hold[ing] it for ransom.”

Concerns were also raised about the New Vienna Police Department towing vehicles for minor infractions and charging late fees for citizens to recover their cars, a trend the judge derided as “policing for money.”

Pate worked previously for the Addyston Police Department.

Addyston Police Chief Eric Pennekamp says Pate was fired after he falsely represented himself as a K9 officer to get free dog food from a pet store. Pate has sued the department claiming he was terminated because of his race.

Pennekamp claims Pate was on a three-day suspension for inappropriate tasing when he was let go.

New allegations surfaced Thursday concerning Pate’s time in Mt. Healthy.

Mt. Healthy Police Chief Vince DeMasi says a citizen called in March 2022 saying someone was arresting people in an unmarked SUV and that the person wasn’t a Mt. Healthy police officer.

Officers were dispatched to Hilltop Plaza, where they allegedly found Pate, who at the time was serving as New Vienna police chief.

Said DeMasi, “We got involved because we were contacted and observed the vehicle and it didn’t have any license plates on it. It had a similar license plate that a marked police car would.”

Mt Healthy Police Sgt. Alan Fath says Pate had been driving his New Vienna Police Department SUV while working security at a bar at Hilltop Plaza.

A police report says Pate had been picking people up from a bar and then releasing them after sitting stationary for a short period of time.

No charges were filed against Pate in Mt. Healthy.

“We weren’t able to get in contact with anyone he picked up at the time,” DeMasi said.

DeMasi did write a letter to New Vienna’s mayor.

“It’s odd, but it’s not criminal,” he said. “It’s odd to be driving an unmarked from a police department multiple counties away for personal business.”

We have reached out to Pate’s attorney multiple times but have not heard back yet.

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