Officer accused of theft responds to indictment

Posted at 2:56 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 19:47:54-05

CINCINNATI – The police officer accused of stealing from a restaurant’s cash register while working an off-duty detail said he still believes the system.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Joseph Simpson, 40, on a felony count of theft in office this week. Simpson has served with the Cincinnati Police Department for about 10 years, but he was suspended without pay after the alleged theft according to City Manager Harry Black.

“I trust the system and I trust my attorney,” Simpson said outside of Cincinnati Police District 1 Thursday.

His attorney, Carl Lewis, said he chose to represent Simpson because he believed in him, calling his client “a great man.”

“I believe… that when all the evidence, all the facts come out, that my client will be exonerated,” Lewis said.

Black called Simpson "a bad apple" Wednesday and added the city would “be treating this as a high, high level event in terms of its seriousness.”

Lewis said he thought Black’s comments Wednesday should have been held until after the case went to court.

“We believe Mr. Simpson is a great police officer and we were kind of taken aback by the comments of the city manager,” Lewis said. “That’s the city manager’s position, but I believe those comments should’ve been withheld until my client could have appropriate chance to be heard in court.”

Lewis said he hadn’t seen a supposed video of Simpson with his hand in the cash drawer, but that they would “look at the evidence and see how it plays out.”

In the meantime, he urged those following the case to hold off on making judgment.

“You have to imagine this man with a stellar career being accused, being indicted of this,” Lewis said. “In his own words, ‘it’s an embarrassment.’ He does not want to let his family down.”