FOP President files grievance, says City Manager Harry Black threatened him with DOJ investigation

CINCINNATI -- Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils has filed a grievance after he said City Manager Harry Black threatened to have him investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In an 11:40 p.m. phone call on Oct. 27, which Hils recorded, he said Black told him Hils has been “intentionally obstructing” the process of the Citizen Complaint Authority, an independent body that reviews allegations of misconduct against officers.

Hils said the 10-minute phone call was “meant for intimidation.” In the call, Black told Hils he would contact the DOJ over Hils' actions.

Listen to the call in the player below:

City spokesman Rocky Merz said Black called Hils in an attempt to find an agreement before the FOP and Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office filed for a temporary restraining order against the Citizen Complaint Authority, also known as the CCA.

The call came days before Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters filed a request for a temporary restraining order on behalf of two officers accused of fighting with two men in August. 

“I have nothing against the CCA -- their investigations are something that have been determined by city hall, by the mayor -- and I just had something in this particular case about the chronological order of these interviews,” Hils said. “So, anyway, my opinion seemed to irk Mr. Black enough that he decided to give me this late-night phone call.”

Hils filed a grievance form about the call Thursday, writing that as a member of the FOP wage committee, he should "be free from coercion, intimidation, discrimination, transfers, threats or other detrimental action."

Dan Hils grievance by WCPO Web Team on Scribd

Black said in a statement that he called Hils because he was concerned a motion for a temporary restraining order was "without precedent and outside the normal administrative process."

"Additionally, I was concerned because of the potential to unravel a critical tenant of the Collaborative Agreement that the City, FOP and the community entered into years ago," Black said. 

"I asked Mr. Hils to consider the implications of the actions he was considering. He indicated he would not change course at which time I indicated I may have to elevate the matter to the next level, which in this case would involve bringing in external agencies." 

The case involves Cincinnati police officers who responded to a domestic situation at a home. Two men refused to leave the home after the police officers arrived, and according to court records, they fought with the officers. One of the officers stunned one of the men with a Taser. After the incident, a complaint was filed with the CCA. 

James Crawley faces charges of assault on a police officer and is scheduled to appear before Judge Jody Luebbers on Dec. 14, according to the prosecutor's office.  

In a statement, Deters said his only goal in filing a motion for a temporary restraining order was so the criminal case would not be affected. 

“We are merely seeking a short delay of the Citizen Complaint Authority hearing,” Deters said. “We asked them to delay their hearing until after the criminal case and they refused, so we had no option but to file a (temporary restraining order). Our concern is that this Citizen Complaint Authority hearing, which compels testimony by the officers, could impact the criminal case. Once the criminal case is concluded, the Citizen Complaint Authority can have their hearing.”

Hils originally reported Black's call as harassment to the Loveland Police Department. Loveland police said they’re not sure whether a crime occurred. Department officials said they’ve referred the report to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Hils waited to report the call, he said, so he didn’t have “any effect on elections.”

On Oct. 30, a judge granted the motion for a temporary restraining order.

Read Black's full statement below: 

“Late on Friday October 27th, upon learning that the FOP was planning to intervene (which they successfully did on the following Monday the 30th) to prevent the Citizen Complaint Authority (CCA) from conducting scheduled interviews with Cincinnati Police Department officers about an incident and subsequent citizen complaint occurring August 8, I called Dan Hils on the phone.

I made the call because I was concerned as such an action was without precedent and outside the normal administrative process. Additionally, I was concerned because of the potential to unravel a critical tenant of the Collaborative Agreement that the City, FOP and the community entered into years ago.  

I asked Mr. Hils to consider the implications of the actions he was considering. He indicated he would not change course at which time I indicated I may have to elevate the matter to the next level, which in this case would involve bringing in external agencies.

I was unaware the call was being recorded. I was and remain passionate about the topics discussed especially as it pertains to the importance of maintaining civilian oversight of our police force.

I also want to clarify that my concerns are in no way critical of any particular police officers as I am unfamiliar with the details of this particular case. There are legal and administrative processes in place to address those questions, which is exactly what we are attempting to protect the integrity of.

The men and women of our police force represent the best in class in terms of policing around the nation.”

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