CINCINNATI — After being suspended for months, the City of Cincinnati announced Monday that police officer Rose Valentino has been fired. The 14-year veteran of the force was caught on her body camera saying a racial slur while on duty and in uniform.
"F****** n******," she said in an April 5 recording. "I f****** hate em."
Valentino said the word as she was driving past Western Hills University High School on her way to the District Three station on Ferguson Road. According to an internal report, Valentino turned on her lights and sirens to signal for parked cars waiting to pick up students to move.
"You gotta move," Valentino said. "F****** ridiculous, f****** a*******. Is she gonna f****** just sit there?"
As she starts driving again, Valentino says, "Oh I f****** hate them so much, God I hate this f****** world." She then rolls down her window at the station gate to enter.
The internal report also said Valentino admitted to cursing at drivers who didn't move their cars. She said she used the racial slur in reference to a Black teen who flipped her off while walking down the sidewalk after school.
In a statement Monday, interim police chief Teresa Theetge said Valentino's use of the word was "not only inexcusable and incredibly hurtful," but damaged the relationship the department has built with the community since the Collaborative Agreement.
"Officer Valentino’s clear loss of her emotions and ready use of the racial slur tarnished her ability to work with any community member or member of the Cincinnati Police Department hurt by her hateful words," Theetge said. "This significantly reduces, if not eliminates, Officer Valentino’s ability to be a productive member of the police department. I want to be clear; this type of hateful speech will not be tolerated by anyone who works for the Cincinnati Police Department, sworn or civilian."
"If I had it my way, the first time a racial slur was used, you would be out of a job," said Iris Roley, one of the architects of the Collaborative Agreement.
Roley said the city's decision to fire Valentino is a good step to improve police and community relations.
"This thing that we call trust is a hard thing to build but it gives you that ladder to step on to start to be able to do that," Roley said.
Cincinnati NAACP President Joe Mallory released a statement saying in part Valentino "demonstrated that she is not fit to police our communities."
"We hope Ms. Valentino will take time to engage in anti-racism training, as well as counseling for her own mental health," Mallory said. "She must address the bias, discrimination and hatred that is in her heart. We invite Ms. Valentino to become involved with the Cincinnati NAACP."
Dan Hils, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, also released a statement saying: “No Cincinnati police officer should use the N-word or any other racial slur and anyone who does is wrong. The Fraternal Order of Police represents Cincinnati Police Officers throughout the disciplinary process as outlined in our collective bargaining agreement. Officer Valentino is entitled to challenge her termination if she chooses and the FOP will represent her if she does.”
WCPO asked Hils whether or not Valentino plans to challenge her termination, but did not receive an answer to that question.
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