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Cincinnati reaches $70,000 settlement with police captain who claimed unfair treatment

Posted at 12:15 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 12:15:02-04

The city of Cincinnati will pay $70,000 to a police captain who accused Chief Eliot Isaac of retaliating against him for uncovering abuse of the Cincinnati Police Department's overtime system in a 2018 audit.

Capt. Jeff Butler oversaw the audit, which found that CPD officers had collected tens of thousands of dollars in improper overtime pay, much of it facilitated by poor record-keeping.

Friday’s settlement ends a years-long saga of Butler suing city officials — among them the city itself, Mayor John Cranley, former City Manager Harry Black and Chief Isaac — for what he claimed was retaliation following the audit.

FROM 2018: City manager: 'Rogue element' undermining Cincinnati Police Department, doesn't like black chief

In his filings against Isaac, Butler wrote that the chief had a close personal relationship with Capt. Bridget Bardua, one of the supervisors implicated with abusing the overtime system.

He claimed Isaac had retaliated against him by formally reprimanding him for actions related to the audit and then refusing to fully remove the reprimand from his record, even after a peer review panel deemed the reprimand "not fair or objective."

Butler expressed concern that lingering evidence of the unfair reprimand could result in him being placed on a “Brady list,” a local list of officers known to have questionable credibility. Being listed would mean Butler likely couldn't testify in court against any defendant he may have arrested or helped to charge with a crime.

The city’s decision to settle with Butler is not an admission of guilt, according to court documents.

“This offer of judgment is made to resolve this dispute amicably and without further litigation and associated costs,” city solicitor Andrew Garth wrote.