Thomas: I won't denounce Caton promotion
UPDATED, Feb. 12, 10:45 a.m.: Chris Smitherman issued this release, about this article:
Dear Membership and Community,
I wanted to put some context on the article below for those of you on our email list who are outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Councilman Cecil Thomas is a former Cincinnati Police Officer, Chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee, and an African American Male.
As the Chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee he has the power to do much more.
Cincinnati NAACP President
Jane Prendergast reports:
Cincinnati NAACP President Christopher Smitherman will get another chance Tuesday to tell city officials why he objects to the promotion of an officer involved in a suspect’s death.
City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee, led by Chairman Cecil Thomas, a former police officer, will hold a hearing Tuesday on a pending resolution written after NAACP members filled council chambers Jan. 30 to oppose the promotion of Patrick Caton to sergeant.
The crowd opposed to the promotion asked council to denounce the promotion. They also asked that Caton be put on desk duty pending two psychological exams and that the officer’s every interaction with an African-American be monitored.
The resolution, presented by Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls, doesn’t do any of those things. Instead, it urges council to study what might be done to improve the system that allowed the promotion, including civil service rules, union contract negotiations and state law.
Thomas says he’s not going to denounce the promotion either, pointing out the city already did what it could through the courts to fire Caton.
“I’m not going to go back through all that,” he said. “I’m not going to even entertain that discussion.”
Smitherman will be the only one to speak on the issue, Thomas said, but he’ll be given “plenty of time.”
“We just have to move forward,” he said.
Caton was acquitted of assault in the 2000 death of Roger Owensby Jr., an incident for which the city ultimately paid $6.5 million to Owensby’s family. The city fired him, but was forced to rehire him in 2006 after courts upheld an arbitrator’s decision that a five-day suspension was the appropriate punishment. Caton was promoted last month based on his score of an exam he took last year.
He works third shift out of District 5, which covers much of the area around the University of Cincinnati as well as Northside, Winton Hills and College Hill.