Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Man is due explanation, police admit

Home searched after false reports

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Searching a Cincinnati man's apartment twice in one day for a rape that never took place wasn't a mistake, it was a missed “customer service opportunity,” department officials said Monday.

        Both times officers went to Ovie Mitchell's Glenridge Place Apartment on May 5 — at 5:25 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. — they were responding to reports that a woman was being raped.

        The problem was that once officers found no crime had occurred, they left without giving Mr. Mitchell any explanation, Lt. Col. Ron Twitty told City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee.

        “I apologize for a customer service miss,” Lt. Col. Twitty said, adding that officers “didn't take advantage” of an opportunity to talk Mr. Mitchell about who made the complaints and assure him he wasn't a suspect.

        But that's exactly how Mr. Mitchell said he was made to feel, even though he'd done nothing wrong.

        He said police wouldn't tell him what they were searching for, why they had to come back twice, and wouldn't tell him who reported the attacks.

        Police said the reports were made by Floyd Palmer, a neighbor of Mr. Mitchell who first called 911 in the morning and then stopped officers on the street later.

        Lt. Col. Twitty said the second officers didn't know about the first call and responded properly.

        “The officers' intentions and actions were within department policy,” he said.

        He said officers couldn't ignore reports of a rape in progress and did not know the calls were false. Now Lt. Col. Twitty said he wants Mr. Mitchell to talk with the officers through a citizen's complaint review process.

        Mr. Mitchell, who is African-American, said the white police officers should be aware of their actions and the perception race plays in the community. He said it adds to distrust toward police.


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