Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Twitty's suspension 'total attack,'
daughter says




By Jane Prendergast jprendergast@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati police official whose suspension prompted protests and the cancellation of a national convention Monday is grateful for the growing community support, his family says, and will fight the allegations.

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Amber Twitty (left), daughter of suspended assistant police chief Ronald Twitty, talks with long-time family friend Anna McClain during a protest Monday across the street from Cincinnati Police headquarters onEzzard Charles Drive.
(Gary Landers photo)
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        Lt. Col. Ron Twitty's daughter, Amber, spoke for him at a rally attended by about 50 friends, family and colleagues outside the police headquarters where he was forced Friday to turn in his badge and gun over an incident involving a city-owned car issued to him.

        She called the situation a “total attack” on her father, a 29-year veteran of the department and the only African-American to rise to assistant chief.

        “If everything was handled in a fair, by-the-book and positive manner, you wouldn't have a rally today,” she said. “Please keep your support up, keep the pressure on.”

        The outcry over the suspension of the beloved assistant chief prompted the National Urban League Monday to change the location of its 2003 convention, which city leaders fought to secure for Cincinnati.

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Cincinnati Human Relations Commission Monitor Lorna Wilson of Western Hills talks with another group of monitors patrolling Over-the-Rhine Monday night.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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        The city's Human Relations Commission sent monitors Monday night to walk around Over-the-Rhine to quell any potential violence.

        “We want to get out there and get the heartbeat, find out what people are talking about,” said Cecil Thomas, who heads the commission and is Lt. Col. Twitty's former police partner. “We want to make sure people understand what's real and what's rumor.”

        Lt. Col.Twitty lost his police powers and was put on paid administrative leave Friday after Chief Tom Streicher questioned his honesty about a July 4 car accident in which his city-owned Taurus was damaged. Investigators did not find any debris at the scene, leading them to question if it was a hit-and-run at the spot where Lt. Col. Twitty said it happened.

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Twitty
        Chief Streicher also said he did not learn of the accident until July 9, and - contrary to policy - was not told about it by the assistant chief.

        The chief, after consultation with City Manager Valerie Lemmie, then announced the suspension at a press conference 2 hours after Lt. Col. Twitty was stripped of his gun and badge.

        Many of the people who rallied in support of Lt. Col. Twitty Monday at noon across the street from the District 1 police station were long-time friends of the embattled assistant chief, including boyhood friends and former Cincinnati officers.

        “I've never been so proud of any officer as I have of him,” said Artie Crum, who retired from the force in 1982 after working with Lt. Col. Twitty, Chief Streicher and the chief's father. “I know he would never throw away his career for anything as crazy as a little 'ol hit-skip accident.”

        The department won't say if the accident was, as Mr. Crum and other supporters say, a minor fender-bender.

        Lt. Col. Twitty's supporters, including the Sentinel Police Association black officers' group, have asked why Lt. Col. Twitty was the subject of a press conference when investigations into the actions of officers accused in deaths of black men have not been aired so publicly.

        The treatment shows “what they think of black officers in the city of Cincinnati,” said Spec. Scotty Johnson, Sentinels president, who Monday hosted a radio show on WDBZ-AM (1230), during which callers phoned in their thoughts throughout the morning and afternoon.

       



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