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Black United Front Files Motion To Make Police Talk During Active Investigations

Sarah Ramsey
Hamilton County Courthouse.

The Black United Front, one of the parties to the Collaborative Agreement that tackles ongoing community-police issues, has gone to court. It wants the Citizen Complaint Authority to be able to force police to be interviewed during an investigation.

Recently, Hamilton County Judge Tom Heekin issued a ruling allowing officers to be blocked from being interviewed while involved in a criminal case.

Attorney Al Gerhardstein represents the Black United Front and was in court Monday. "The Cincinnati Black United Front is opposed to that. We asked it be heard. We've asked to intervene in this case and we're trying to stop this judge from continuing with the order."

Iris Roley, project manager for the Black United Front, calls the judge's injunction very divisive and unfair. "To do a dirty deed like this right now, I believe it smacks in the face of what democracy really looks like and what transparency looks like, and accountability."

Roley says cities across the U.S. are using Cincinnati as a model. She adds that the city has had it this way all along -- why change now?

The hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20.

According to  Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Julie Wilson, "We do not want the police interviewed by the CCA before the conclusion of the criminal case as it could jeopardize our criminal case."

She says, "Once our case is concluded, we have no problem with the CCA doing whatever they are supposed to do pursuant to the agreement.  We simply ask that the CCA not interview anyone until our criminal case is concluded."

WVXU is awaiting a response from the City of Cincinnati.