CINCINNATI – Fired police chief Jeffrey Blackwell showed up at a conference on the Collaborative Agreement Friday and said he intends to sue the city for wrongful termination.
"Absolutely, I am," Blackwell told WCPO. He said he would see it through to the end.
Fifteen years after the 2001 riots that prompted the agreement, Blackwell came to New Prospect Baptist Church with police, community and city leaders to examine whether the agreement is still working and how to improve police-community relations.
Blackwell, fired here seven months ago, came as an acknowledged expert in the field and a resident, but not as a police chief.
"I live in Cincinnati. This is my home now ... so I have a vested interest as a community member," Blackwell said.
Blackwell led a workshop on supportive policing.
"Officers need to be mindful of their need to have relations. You can't have relationships without relations, and that takes work."
City Manager Harry Black issued a scathing rebuke of Blackwell when he fired him on Sept. 9, 2015. Blackwell's leadership style created "a work environment of hostility and retaliation," Black said in a memo to city leaders.
Black said Blackwell abused others to convey authority, disregarded the chain of command, retaliated against command officers he blamed for bad publicity and was obsessed with self-promotion to the point of taking "selfies" along the funeral procession route of slain officer Sonny Kim.
Blackwell called those accusations "a bunch of b.s."
“I've worked very hard for the people of this city for two years," he said at the time. "I've had the support of the White House, the attorney general, the national media ... all of the national think tanks of policing, but I could never get the support of [Mayor] John Cranley or Harry Black, and because I've never had their support -- ever -- I was never able to command the department the way it should have been led."