Thursday, May 23, 2002

Roach: Seal old reports

Officer says they weren't legitimate

By Marie McCain,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Former Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach will ask a Hamilton County judge today to seal unfavorable reports on him issued by Cincinnati police and city officials.

        Officer Roach — now an officer in Evendale — was acquitted in September of negligent homicide and obstructing official business in the shooting death of Timothy Thomas, which sparked the April 2001 riots.

        Municipal Judge Ralph E. “Ted” Winkler, who found Officer Roach not guilty, granted a November request to expunge the misdemeanor charges from public record. He also will hear today's case.

        In court documents obtained Wednesday by the Enquirer, Officer Roach contends that neither the police Internal Investigations report or the city Office of Municipal Investigation report on him were “for a legitimate administrative purpose since (he'd) left employment with the city of Cincinnati in January 2002.”

        “The only reasons these reports were released, months after Stephen Roach left his employment with the city of Cincinnati, were to cause employment harm and public furor to Stephen Roach, and serve the political ends of the city of Cincinnati,” the court motion states.

        Since his hiring, some Evendale residents have objected to the Harrison man's presence on their police force.

        Judge Winkler will have to decide whether this new request falls under his previous order.

        In that decision, he stipulated that all “official records” used by police in the criminal investigation into Mr. Thomas's death could be used by the city for its disciplinary reports.

        The documents would be available to the city for only six months and then be sealed or expunged. That deadline ended in March.

        City prosecutors plan to attend today's hearing and will likely fight the request.

        The reports were issued in March and and this month. They say the officer violated police procedure when he ran with his finger on the trigger of his gun and disgraced the Police Department when he lied about the shooting afterward.

        As part of the police report, Chief Tom Streicher told the city's 1,000 police officers that “dishonesty will not be tolerated.” Officers who lie can expect to be terminated, he said.


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