Cincinnati police officer exonerated by internal investigation, disciplined for music

CINCINNATI – Police Officer Adrienne Brown was exonerated of any wrongdoing by an internal investigation Wednesday, after an alleged rape victim claimed the officer arrested her instead of helping her.

Brown was only disciplined for playing music in a police cruiser, which is against protocol.

The alleged rape victim accused Brown of taking her to the Hamilton County jail instead of a hospital on Jan. 19, and treated her like a criminal, “as if she was a criminal and not the victim of a violent and humiliating crime,” court records show. The woman was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

The woman claimed she was raped by a taxi driver after she left a downtown nightclub. She has since filed a federal lawsuit against Brown, accusing the officer of false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Cruiser camera video and the internal investigation report show Brown took the woman, 45, to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center before the Hamilton County Justice Center. While in the cruiser on her way to the hospital, the woman struck the divider between the front and backseat of the cruiser, and was combative, said Sgt. Craig Gregoire, of the Professional Standards Unit.

The internal report found that Brown did indeed try to take the woman to the hospital after she was allegedly raped in the 1100 block of Gest Street.

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When she arrived at the hospital, she refused medical attention and continued to be combative, Gregoire said. The woman also “flashed her genitalia” at hospital staff, nursing staff confirmed to authorities, Gregoire said.

As the woman was being pushed toward the hospital lobby in a wheelchair, she stood up, lifted her skirt and exposed her genitalia to about 10 hospital staff members and stated, "Look, he took my panties. I've been raped," according to the internal report based on interviews with hospital staff.

Brown then placed the woman under arrest and she was taken to jail. Brown was still trying to note the woman's identity as she refused to cooperate with police throughout the entire ordeal, the internal investigation found.

The woman only repeated to Brown that she was sexually assaulted and drunk, according to the internal investigation report. Brown then told the woman, "That's the problem. You should know your limit. You are an adult ... You should never be in a situation where you don’t know your limit because you’re drinking too much."

Gregoire, who was the internal investigator, wrote in the report, "Officer Brown did not believe she was being discourteous."

It was when Brown was taking the woman to the jail, she turned on the radio, according to the report.

Gregoire said it’s against department policy to play music in a cruiser. Since it’s Brown's first offense as a police officer, she received a warning and it will be documented in her personnel file, Gregoire said.

Gregoire said the music calmed the woman down a little.

“While it is indeed against policy, in this case (the music) had a positive effect,” Gregoire said.

At the jail, Gregoire said the woman continued to be combative, by spitting on personnel and "yelling racial slurs," the internal report notes. Officials placed a spit mask on her, he said.

During the course of the internal investigation, Brown was transferred to the telephone-reporting unit, and in late February, returned to third-shift patrol duty in District 1, Gregoire confirmed.

Police also have not been able to substantiate the woman’s rape claim. She said a taxi driver raped her after leaving the Scene Ultra Lounge nightclub downtown early Jan. 19. Instead of taking the woman back to a Covington hotel, she claims the taxi driver drove to Cincinnati’s west side, and raped in her in the backseat of the taxi, according to the federal lawsuit she filed against Brown.

The case goes to court April 14.

After she was released from jail, she underwent a medical evaluation at Christ Hospital, but no sexual assault evidence found, officials said.

WCPO will update this story as more information becomes available.

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