Saturday, July 20, 2002

Chronology of the Twitty case




        July 4: Lt. Col. Ron Twitty, one of four assistant Cincinnati police chiefs, calls the department at 6:53 a.m. to say his city-owned 2001 gray Ford Taurus has been hit outside his house in Bond Hill. Officers are dispatched at 7:18 a.m. and arrive at 7:29 a.m. The car, with a flat right front tire and a dented left front fender, is towed to the city garage.

Lt. Col. Twitty
Lt. Col. Twitty
        July 5: The car is moved for repairs to Fuller Ford in Queensgate.

        July 8: Fuller employees begin working on the car.

        July 9: Chief Tom Streicher learns of the wreck, sees pictures of the scene, which show no debris on the ground, and starts an investigation into whether Lt. Col. Twitty told the truth when he said someone hit the car.

        July 12: Chief Streicher, after consulting with Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen, turns the case over to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office for investigation, saying he doesn't want the impression of a conflict of interest. He places Lt. Col. Twitty on paid administrative leave, taking away his badge and gun.

        The chief's public information staff calls reporters to police headquarters to announce the suspension. Scotty Johnson, president of the Sentinel Police Association, representing the department's black officers, calls Lt. Col. Twitty one of the “most honest men on the planet” and questions why the top-ranking African-American with 29 years on the job was shown such disrespect.

        July 13: Mayor Charlie Luken says he's somewhat “embarrassed” that he didn't know about the allegations until about three hours before the public did. The NAACP, Urban League of Greater Cincinnati and Community Action Agency hold a press conference to call for Lt. Col. Twitty to be treated fairly.

        July 15: Supporters of Lt. Col. Twitty rally outside police headquarters on Ezzard Charles Drive. His daughter, Amber, describes it as a “total attack” on her dad. The outcry prompts the National Urban League to cancel the 2003 convention it had planned to hold in Cincinnati. The city's Human Relations Commission sends monitors to walk Over-the-Rhine into the night, talking to residents who might have questions and trying to quell any disturbances.

[photo] Lt. Col. Ron Twitty's car on July 5.
(City of Cincinnati photo)
| ZOOM |
        July 16: Photographs of the wrecked Taurus show a hole about 8 inches round ripped in the left front bumper, a flat tire on the right side and a bent hood that won't close. The marks left in the gray paint are deep grooves, leading police investigators to think the car hit something concrete.

        City Manager Valerie Lemmie, at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, defends the city's actions, but adds it is “refreshing” that so many city residents have rallied around Lt. Col. Twitty.

        July 17: City garage records show the repairs to the Taurus cost the city $3,337.

        July 18: Lt. Col. Twitty, through a statement from his attorney, former U.S. Attorney Sharon Zealey, insists he doesn't know what happened to the car, that he wasn't given a chance to explain before he was suspended and says “sobriety is a nonissue,” referring to rumors that the assistant chief had been out drinking.

        July 19: Mayor Luken says he'll talk with Ms. Lemmie about possibly reversing the suspension and giving Lt. Col. Twitty his police powers back. The FOP reacts strongly, saying the mayor should butt out and that any consideration given to the assistant chief should also be given to other officers who also are suspended of their police powers.

       



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