Cincinnati police officer used ‘n-word’ during incident outside CPS school, report finds

The officer allegedly admitted to using the slur in an interview with investigators.
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 6:11 PM EDT

CINCINNATI (WXIX) - An internal Cincinnati Police Department investigation concluded an officer used a racial slur following an incident with a teenager believed to be a Cincinnati Public Schools student.

CPD on Monday released the report from its internal investigations section related to District Three Officer Rose Valentino. The incident was caught on bodycam and dashcam.

Valentino’s police powers are suspended as the disciplinary hearing process continues, according to interim City Manager John Curp.

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval called use of the slur “hateful, angry and racist.” He said “someone demonstrating this behavior has no place in a world-class organization like CPD.”

No word yet on punitive measures against Valentino, though the city’s administrative regulations require a 40-hour suspension on the first offense for employees who use a racial slur while on duty.

The incident happened April 5 outside Western Hills University High School, according to the investigative report. Valentino, 40, was on duty in a marked CPD vehicle. Per the report, she arrived at the District Three police station to complete an offense report. As she pulled into the station driveway, she saw several cars lined up on the street to pick up students from the school.

Valentino activated her lights and siren to signal for the cars to move and “became angry when they did not,” the report reads. She allegedly yelled over her air horn, “You got to move, f*****g ridiculous. F*****g a*****s.”

Valentino then rolled down her window and told a Black woman in one of the cars, “You need to move,” according to the report. At that time, a Black teenager who appeared to be a CPS student walked past and raised his middle finger at the officer, which “infuriated” her, the report says.

After rolling up the window, according to the report, Valentino said, “Oh I hate them so much. I hate this f*****g world. F*****g n*****s, I f***ing hate them.” The report notes she punctuated the remark by punching the steering wheel.

Valentino deactivated her bodycam moments later. Before she deactivated the dashcam, the report notes she can be heard saying quietly, “And there it is...”

Valentino allegedly admitted to using the slur in an interview with investigators, and the report says the statement is audible in the bodycam file.

She told investigators she was extremely frustrated due to traffic and the fact that she had not been taken seriously.

The report quotes her as telling investigators, “This is a hard job, and I was getting to a point where I was really being affected by it. I have been on for fourteen years.”

The officer argued she had been desensitized by music and hearing people talk on the street, according to the report. It summarizes her interview statements on the matter as follows: ‘Constant exposure has allowed this slur to slip into Officer Valentino’s vernacular. She was surprised that it came out in this context, and its use did not represent who Officer Valentino is as a person or how she feels about African Americans.”

Valentino also acknowledged in the interview she was not mentally healthy, according to the report. She allegedly denied having racial biases that have affected her work and argued the incident was an isolated “mental episode.” She said she was “not classifying the whole race with her statement,” according to the report.

The report finds Valentino’s alleged actions are in violation of CPD rules prohibiting verbal or written expression of any prejudice or offensive comments concerning characteristics including race.

The alleged actions are also in violation of the City of Cincinnati’s discriminatory harassment regulation, according to the report.

The investigation is now closed. Interim Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge reviewed and approved of its findings on Monday.

Valentino graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She became a police officer in December 2008.

Valentino received an official reprimand in February 2019 for allegedly using her cellphone at the Hollywood Casino to show her family bodycam footage from a homicide scene.

She received a second official reprimand in December 2020 following an incident in which she was allegedly involved in a violent argument with her sister and brother-in-law over a card game. Valentino allegedly punched both of them before using an umbrella to batter her brother-in-law’s car.

Valentino was named in a 2019 federal lawsuit after a realtor and a prospective buyer claimed that she and two other CPD officers detained them on a report of “two Black males” forcing open the front door of a home. The city settled the lawsuit for $151,000.

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval:

“I was appalled to see Officer Valentino display such hateful, angry, and racist language. Our law enforcement represents all of this city, and Black Cincinnatians deserve to feel safe knowing they will be treated with mutual respect. A fair and complete process needs to play out, but someone demonstrating this behavior has no place in a world-class organization like CPD.”

Interim City Manager John Curp:

“We hold all of our employees, and especially our sworn police officers, to high standards. The body camera video of Officer Rose Valentino is disturbing. I expect CPD to thoroughly investigate this matter and recommend discipline in strict accordance with the City’s disciplinary procedures. That process is mandated by the contractual requirements of the collective bargaining agreement between the F.O.P. and the City. I have requested that the process proceed without delay. I agree with the Chief’s decision to suspend the officer’s police powers while the disciplinary hearing process is ongoing. Officer Valentino will not be on city streets in uniform, wearing a badge, or carrying a firearm.”

Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils:

“No Cincinnati police officer should use the N-word or any other racial slur and anyone who does is wrong. The Fraternal Order of Police represents every Cincinnati Police Officer when they’re involved in the disciplinary process as outlined in our collective bargaining agreement. Every officer is entitled to a fair hearing and that’s what we’ll ensure happens.”

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