Cincinnati police officer Doug Utecht, who was beaten and left bloodied after trying to de-escalate a situation last June, was forced to defend himself to a civilian oversight board last Thursday, Fox 19 reported.
Utecht and two other officers handled a call at the Gamble-Nippert YMCA on a man refusing to leave, the station said.
They reportedly found Durrell Nichols, 25, behaving in a disorderly manner. They say they tried several times to get Nichols to leave the gym before attempting to arrest him, at which point Nichols resisted and “violently assaulted” the officers.
Utecht reportedly sustained a severe cut on his forehead, bruises on the side of the head and a swollen-shut eye.
Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils told WLWT that a third-party person filed a complaint against Utecht and said he was abusive.
Utecht appeared before the Citizens Complaint Authority on Thursday.
No information on his status has been released.
“He’s being interrogated by this civilian complaint authority. It makes no sense whatsoever,” Hils said. “Now he’s being questioned before the bad guy even faces his day in court. … This particular case is a personal insult to us as police officers.”
Cincinnati police officers can thank the U.S. Department of Justice and the ACLU for putting them through the legal wringer of the Citizens Complaint Authority even before criminals’ cases are decided, according to the CCA’s website.
CCA acts independent of the Cincinnati Police Department and reports directly to the City Manager.
CCA was established in 2003 as a result of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the U.S. Department of Justice, the City of Cincinnati and the CPD and the historical Collaborative Agreement (CA). The CA was an unprecedented agreement between the Cincinnati Black United Front, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation, Inc. (ACLU), on behalf of the class, the City of Cincinnati and the Fraternal Order of Police as a settlement of claims brought against the City and CPD. The overall CA involved a community problem oriented policing practice. Central to a problem solving orientation is that problems are dilemmas to be engaged and learned from and that blame is an obstacle to progress. The overall collaborative effort suggests an alternative to blame: that different groups within the community with different experiences and perspectives share much more in common than not, and can work together on common goals and solve problems together. The CA was an alternative dispute resolution effort to resolve social conflict, improve community relations, and avoid divisive litigation.
The CCA says it won a lawsuit in December on appeal that would have prevented it from interrogating officers until criminal cases had been handled in order to avoid potential revelation of confidential information about the prosecution.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Gamble-Nippert YMCA” by YMCA, “Officer Utecht” by Doug Utecht, and “Durrell Nichols” by Cincinnati Police Department.