Vice mayor: Detective suspended for saying ‘n-word’ should be ‘fully exonerated, returned to duty’

Cincinnati Police Detective Joehonny Reese is working at the department's Supply Room....
Cincinnati Police Detective Joehonny Reese is working at the department's Supply Room. Cincinnati’s vice mayor is supporting him and calling for him to be put back on active duty.(FOP President retired Sgt. Dan Hils via Ryan Stubenrauch with Communications Counsel)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:26 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:28 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Cincinnati’s vice mayor is supporting a veteran detective whose police powers were recently suspended for saying the “n-word” on duty and calling for him to be put back on active duty.

Detective Joehonny Reese, who is Black, is the third Cincinnati police officer in the past year who has been investigated for saying the racial slur.

However, in this case, Detective Reese “told a drunken patron to stop using the n-word,” Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney tells FOX19 NOW.

“Given that Officer Reese actually said the n-word, (Interim) Chief (Teresa) Theetge put him through the same process as other officers who used the n-word because fairness requires a consistent process,” Kearney said.

“I expect the facts of the incident to lead to a positive outcome for Officer Reese. He should be fully exonerated and returned to duty.”

The president of the union that represents Cincinnati police has been calling on department leaders to reinstate Reese. He says the circumstances of each incident must be judged on its own.

The executive board of the police union has unanimously voted last week to demand the interim chief reinstate Reese.

“If this idiotic decision isn’t reversed, the next vote the Cincinnati FOP takes will be one of no confidence in our interim chief,” FOP President retired Sgt. Dan Hils said at the time.

Reese was one of two officers working an off-duty detail at Energy Nightclub in Longworth Hall at 700 W. Pete Rose Way when the incident occurred Sept. 2.

Bar security brought out an intoxicated teenager who physically threatened and berated the bar’s security staff and the officers, Hils has said.

Officers asked the teen to leave, but he kept shouting at them, threatening them and calling them “fake n-words,” according to Hils.

The teen tried to assault the officers, who used a Taser and arrested him for disorderly conduct, the FOP leader says.

“During the confrontation, as the drunk white teenager threatened and demeaned two Black police officers repeatedly with the n-word, one of the officers, veteran Cincinnati Detective Joehonny Reese, used the same word when he told the drunk teenager that he wouldn’t be an n-word.

“Both officers showed remarkable restraint in the face of repeated racial slurs and gave the drunk teenager numerous chances to leave without being arrested,” Hils has said.

“Only after the teenager decided to try to physically assault them did the officers use a taser and arrest the man. The next week, Detective Reese had his gun and badge taken away by internal investigators solely for the word he used.”

Police officers shouldn’t use racial slurs, Hils acknowledges, but Reese kept his cool in the face of a belligerent person who was hurling the racial slur at the officers.

Theetge has said that it’s her duty and responsibility as interim chief to ensure that every allegation of misconduct by any member of CPD is investigated.

“Regardless of the circumstances, a complete and thorough investigation will be conducted by our Internal Investigations Section (IIS),” she said last week.

“Under my leadership, it is standard practice to temporarily suspend police powers until an investigation into the use of a racial slur is complete.”.