The Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police president reportedly berated a senior black female officer by using the term “urban ghetto” in Ohio.
Police union chief Dan Hils was attending a roll call in the absence of Lt. Danita Pettis, who is black, when he allegedly made the comments. He told officers that working for Pettis made their job even more difficult.
“You already have it tough policing in an urban ghetto environment,” said Hils.
While berating Pettis he said, “I do not know how she became a police officer. She was able to manage working her way up and became a lieutenant only because she will kick, scream, b**** and yell it was race, sexism or whatever. I never would have imagined she would be my superior.”
The comments sparked an internal investigation that included a complaint by Pettis. She alleged that Hils undermined her authority by speaking to the third-shift roll call she supervises, on her night off. To support her complaint, Sgt. Dan O'Malley recounted the incident and submitted a witness statement.
In the complaint, she also added Hils talked about an incident when he arrested Pettis 25 years ago when she was a civilian. He also told officers to file a complaint against her and advised them to record bodycam footage of their roll calls in order to feel protected.
The comments were denounced by several community groups who demanded Cincinnati Police Department Chief Eliot Isaac hold the officer accountable.
“Hils' actions are deplorable and display his contempt towards a senior ranked Cincinnati Police Department officer, which seem personal and inflammatory. Hils is unhappy that he is subordinate to Lt. Pettis. It further demonstrates a lack of respect for the leadership of the CPD and this city,” read a collective statement from civil rights groups.
After widespread condemnation, Hils took to Facebook to apologize.
“I was emphasizing the complexity of their jobs and how being degraded and mistreated by your superiors makes the job of service more complicated. For my choice of grammar, using the term 'urban ghetto' statement, I do sincerely apologize for my choice of words,” he wrote.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters