Sunday, February 18, 2001

Investigations continue in 7 profiling complaints

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Eight widely varying complaints of alleged racial profiling have been filed with the city's Office of Municipal Investigation since Jan. 1, 2000 — four last year, when the agency started categorizing them separately, and four so far in 2001.

        Five of the investigations continue, and two were referred to the police division for further investigation. One was closed, with OMI determining the officers acted properly. No two complaints name the same officer.

        Among them:

        • Gary Fields of Covington complained in June 2000 about a November 1999 incident. He said he was stopped at Vine Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, handcuffed and searched, but never asked for identification. When he questioned the officers, he said he was then told he was driving without a license. He was not charged.

        Outcome: OMI found no wrongdoing by white Officers Jeffrey Ray and Kenneth Baker, who said they saw Mr. Fields involved in a hand-to-hand drug sale along the curb in the high drug trafficking area. They did not find any drugs, but said users often swallow them. They said Mr. Fields allowed them to search the car.

        • A 43-year-old white man from Colerain Township reported in September that a white officer stopped him at Ninth and Plum streets downtown last July. He said the officer asked him why he was in the area, then accused him of trying to solicit a prostitute, of having a weapon and buying drugs. He said he and the car were searched. He was ticketed for changing lanes improperly. The investigation continues.

        • An 18-year-old black man from the West End complained that unknown police officers searched his coat and pants and made him take off his boots, then ran his name through their cruiser computer. One officer, he said, told him not to hang around on street corners, and a black officer said the procedure was part of getting to know the people on their beat. The investigation continues.

        • A 23-year-old African-American man from Pleasant Ridge alleged that a black officer stopped him for speeding but refused to show him the speed on his radar gun. He also said he didn't understand why the officer asked his passenger for identification. The investigation was referred to the police division.


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