Emails show how city accidentally met request to honor Officer Sonny Kim's killer

Posted at 4:19 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 18:12:27-04

CINCINNATI -- Emails obtained by WCPO Friday show how the City of Cincinnati accidentally honored the man who killed a police officer.

Trepierre Hummons ambushed, shot and killed Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim in 2015. Hummons was also killed, and then-Chief Jeffrey Blackwell described it as "suicide by cop."

Since then, Ronald Hummons, Trepierre's father, has set up a foundation to try to help people with mental health issues. On May 10, he sent this email to a staffer in Mayor John Cranley's office:

"Hi Yasmin,

I'm attaching a proclamation I would like for my son's birthday. Can you please let me know when it will be available. Thanks."

The proclamation draft requested by Ronald Hummons

The copy of the requested proclamation he attached to the email did not include Trepierre's last name or mention the circumstances around his death. 

On May 11, he sent this email to a staffer in Councilmember Wendell Young's office:

"Hi Melanie,

My name is Ronald, friend of Tamaya, father of Trepierre Hummons. She gave me your email to see if you could help me with a proclamation I applied for for my son. My team and have done some incredible work on behalf of the foundation I've set up for him and with his birthday coming up I was hoping to get it to celebrate the impact that we're having on mental health. I haven't gotten a response back from the mayors office about it but I did ask Tamaya to help do to the sensitivity of it."

The staffer from Young's office exchanged emails with a staffer from Cranley's office about the request, never mentioning Kim or the larger context of the request.

"He'll get it," Cranley's staffer wrote.

RELATED: Hummons' father: I wasn't trying to trick anyone

Thursday, the staffer replied to Ronald Hummons that the proclamation was "complete and ready for pickup."

Anyone can request a proclamation from the city. The mayor's office said they get between 30 and 50 requests a month, many of which get approved. The city's website states proclamations for public awareness and charitable fundraising get approved, while matters of political controversy and campaigns or events contrary to city policies don't get approved.

Word of the proclamation got out that same day. Hummons shared a photo of the proclamation online.

Sgt. Dan Hils, the police union president, said some officers were ready to forgive Cranley, while others were having a harder time.

"I know enough of the mayor's heart to know that was completely unintentional," Hils said.

Cranley apologized publicly for the misstep and retracted the resolution.

"Yesterday we unintentionally hurt people in this community," Cranley said. "It was a huge mistake and I am deeply sorry."

Ronald Hummons said he wasn't trying to trick anyone when he sought the proclamation. He wanted to honor his son and raise awareness about the need to address mental health problems.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac remembered Kim as a fine officer and a friend to those who worked with him.

"It hurt but, you know, I think it made more people take notice," Isaac said. "We're here to remember Sonny and to recognize the sacrifice he made."