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Cincinnati Police officer fired for using N-word on duty

Cincinnati Police Officer Rose Valentino.
Cincinnati Police Department
Cincinnati Police Officer Rose Valentino.

A Cincinnati Police officer caught using a racial slur on duty earlier this year has been fired.

CPD announced last month an internal investigation had taken place after Officer Rose Valentino was heard on body-camera video using the N-word. Her police powers were suspended during the investigation.

Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge announced the termination Monday, saying the decision comes after considering community trust and the officer's "future ability to police a diverse community that relies upon an impartial party to protect and serve."

"Officer Valentino’s agitated demeanor and the statement she made while on duty is not only inexcusable and incredibly hurtful, but it damages the public’s trust we have worked so hard to build over the past 20 years, since the inception of the Collaborative Agreement," Theetge said in a statement. "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."

Body camera video shows Valentino said, “F*****g n*****s, I f*****g hate them,” while driving near Western Hills University High School. Valentino admitted to using the slur, saying she had been "desensitized to racially offensive language by music and hearing people talk on the street" and "frequent exposure had allowed the slur to slip into her vernacular."

The police union could file a grievance to challenge the termination. According to the CPD statement, disciplinary grievances center on whether an employer had "just cause" in taking corrective action. If a grievance is filed, "it must go to mediation prior to arbitration," the statement says. "If no compromise is reached at mediation, the grievance may proceed to a panel of three neutral arbitrators" for "an unsigned decision that will be binding on both parties."

The Fraternal Order of Police could not immediately be reached for comment on whether a grievance in this case will be filed.

City officials are considering a zero-tolerance policy for any city worker using a racial slur. A proposed revision of that policy is expected within the next couple weeks.

The current policy does not require termination for use of a racial slur, but that level of discipline is permitted depending on the circumstances.

Another police officer who recently admitted to using a racial slur on duty wasn't terminated.

Officer Kelly Drach admitted to shouting “sand n****s” at a telemarketer on the phone while working at the Real Time Crime Center. Another city employee confronted her about it and Drach apologized; but about a week later, she shouted the same phrase at another telemarketer.

The discipline approved by Interim Chief Theetge was a seven-day suspension.

See the full report on the internal investigation into Officer Rose Valentino's comments:

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.