The First District Court of Appeals is considering whether to lift an injunction that prohibits the Cincinnati Citizen Complaint Authority from questioning any Cincinnati police officer who is a witness during an ongoing criminal case. A court hearing was held Tuesday.
Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor Andrea Neuwirth argued if those police officers were made to answer questions from the CCA it could cause "irreparable harm." She says Cincinnati police officers could divulge information about confidential informants and give a preview of the state's court case to the defense through a transcript of the interview.
Attorney Al Gerhardstein told WVXU this is overreach by the prosecutor's office. "The injunction by the trial judge undermines that whole effort and delays that timely investigation and that's what we're fighting over," he says.
Iris Roley is the project manager for the Collaborative Agreement and the Collaborative Refresh. "This is being used to circumvent the process that was put in place 17 years ago," she says. "We have not had enough time to build or rebuild or scratch the surface on building trust between the black community and police. This smacks in the face of that."
Roley worries police can't be held accountable if they can't be interviewed and, "we'll go right back to where we were and that would be a sad state for the city of Cincinnati."
It's unclear when the court might rule on this appeal.
The case involves an officer-involved shooting when Damion McRae allegedly shot Officer Kenneth Grubbs in 2017 on Gilbert Ave. It has been repeatedly delayed by the prosecutor's office.
The prosecutor's office says it has no further comment until there is a decision from the appeals court.