FOP strikes back after Sgt. Heine criticism for Tensing trial and complaint
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The FOP is taking action following the harsh criticism of Sgt. Shannon Heine by the prosecutor's office and the citizen complaint filed against her as part of the Ray Tensing trial. According to a brief press release, the FOP took two votes Monday night.
FOP president Dan Hils said the FOP took a no-confidence vote in Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. During the Tensing trial, assistant prosecutor Seth Tieger made it clear that his office thought Sgt. Heine did not question Tensing very aggressively. "Was this the 'good ol' boy network' kicking in? is this how they would have treated anybody else but an officer?" asked Seth Tieger, a Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor. His remarks followed her testimony that she thought the shooting may have been justified.
Deters emailed a response to Local 12. “Despite the FOP vote, I remain committed to doing the best job I can do as the Hamilton County Prosecutor and I have full confidence in the Cincinnati Police Department.”
Hils said the membership also ordered him to no longer participate in the "refresh" of the collaborative process. In June, Cincinnati city leaders voluntarily decided to take a look at the collaborative agreement that stemmed from the 2001 riots that followed the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer. The collaborative agreement changed many police practices and is credited as improving police community relations in Cincinnati. The court oversight was lifted in 2008.
The Black United Front was part of the original collaborative agreement and the recent refresh. In his release, Hils blames "attacks" on Sgt. Heine by the group's leader Iris Roley, as well as Al Gerhardstein's complaint against her as the reason to no longer participate. Gerhardstein represented the family of Sam DuBose. The review of that complaint found nothing wrong with Sgt. Heine's testimony or actions during Tensing's trial for the death of DuBose.
"Mr. Gerhardstein and Miss Roley seem to routinely attack the Cincinnati Police Department," said Hils. "If I'm not mistaken, I think there was a lawsuit involving the officers that were involved in a shooting the day we buried Sonny Kim. They've come out, especially disturbed by Mr. Gehardstein's baseless accusations that Sgt. Heine conspired with the defense, that's a huge accusation and it was baseless. There was no evidence of it, whatsoever. They just didn't like her opinion in the case and I thought that was very unprofessional. As far as the collaborative goes, I want to work in a collaborative fashion with folks in the community but you can't expect me to sit in a collaborative with somebody that essentially is punching me in the nose."
Gerhardstein said he's disappointed in the FOP's action. "We did file a complaint against Sergeant Heine but it's not an attack on her. We're just using the process that has been set up in the city for years, and that is if you have a problem with officer conduct, you go to internal affairs and you get an internal CPD investigation and you go to CCA, and get an independent investigation."
CCA is the Citizens Complaint Authority. Gerhardstein says he has e-mailed and texted Hils and asked to talk, to try to work co-operatively.
Hils did say a lot of members abstained from the votes. The votes were not approved by a majority of FOP members but they did have enough to pass.