Cincinnati Police Department reviewing officer's controversial Facebook post

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 18:49:06-04

CINCINNATI – Police are reviewing a controversial Facebook post made by an officer.

In the post, the officer wrote about what he said a black person should do when dealing with a white officer: "Make sure that you are in a public place, and comply to all of their commands, because they are looking for a reason to kill a black man."

He continued to write: "I'm so tired of cops using these famous words, 'I was in fear of my life.'"

Police Chief Eliot Isaac said in a news release that the department was aware of the post “that refers to an interpretation of a law enforcement officer’s actions.”

Department officials were reviewing the post in regard to the department’s social media procedure and its rules and regulations, Isaac said.

“The Cincinnati Police Department strives to maintain a culture of professionalism, as well as transparency and accountability for our actions,” Isaac said. “I am proud of the work of the men and women of the Cincinnati Police Department and our efforts to work collaboratively with the community.”

Lt. Steve Saunders said a District 5 officer made the post, but officials declined to confirm the officer’s identity.

Attorney Carl Lewis has known the officer for more than 10 years. He said he wants everyone to understand the officer’s intent when he posted the comments. The officer “speaks from the heart” but feels misunderstood, Lewis said.

The officer didn’t want to harm the reputation of police, but meant “there are some very, very bad individuals that wear badges just like there are bad individuals that practice law, very bad individuals that practice medicine, and beware, be cognizant of things that are around you and take steps to protect yourself, and also follow the orders of police officers,” Lewis said.

Lewis also called him “a phenomenal police officer.”

“He is what we are looking for: the definition of a community-based guy in with the community, talking to the kids, talking to the community about what’s right, what’s wrong,” Lewis said.

The officer was assigned to District 1 as a police officer in 1992, according to his personnel file. He was dismissed later that year for “failed probation” and was reinstated as a police recruit and then District 5 officer in 1995.

The officer was disciplined for not filling out a form to report the use of “hard hands” when he broke up a fight at Western Hills High School last November. He was also disciplined in 2014 for failing to bring a doctor’s note to excuse sick days as is required by the union contract.

Supervisors wrote on evaluations that the officer mostly met expectations.

Read the Cincinnati Police Department's policy for personal social media below:

CPD Personal Social Media policy by James on Scribd

Pastor Ennis Tait of the Church of the Living God said Thursday night that he wasn’t surprised by the officer’s post. He traveled to Dallas after the attack on police officers earlier this month, and he witnessed the tense atmosphere there firsthand.

“If he is a black man, he is the target as well,” Tate said. “That’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality. Every black man right now, no matter what their rank and file, (from) president all the way down, is a target for this kind of hatred and this kind of bigotry.”

Tait’s 14-year-old son, Emmanuel, has also been worried by recent news of officer-involved shootings. 

“I am kind of scared because all these black men are getting shot and stuff, sometimes for no reason,” he said.

Even in the presence of hatred and bigotry, however, Tait said that issues like officer-involved shootings should be investigated on a case-by-case basis and that no-one should judge a large group by the actions of its worst members.

“I don’t want us to make the mistake of singling out good people because of things that bad people are doing,” he said.