Chief: Cincinnati officer said racial slur while making arrest

Police on duty during a street protest

Cincinnati, OH (WCPO) — A Cincinnati police officer is being investigated and has been restricted to desk duty after he was heard using a racial slur during an arrest, according to city officials.

In an email to City Manager Patrick Duhaney, Police Chief Eliot Isaac wrote that Officer Dennis Barnette said “the ‘N’ word” while arresting a woman at the Brownstone Nightclub in Roselawn Saturday night.

The woman was resisting arrest and pushed an officer before Barnette said the slur, Isaac wrote.

Barnette could be heard saying the slur on a recording from another officer’s body camera, according to the email. Isaac referred the incident to the Internal Investigations Section. While on desk duty, Barnette’s policing powers have also been suspended.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated inside the department,” Isaac wrote.

In another email to the City Council, Duhaney wrote that he shares Isaac’s concerns about the incident.

“It is unacceptable and not in line with the standard of conduct we expect from City employees,” he wrote.

At a City Council committee meeting Thursday, Councilman Chris Smitherman shared similar sentiments, and added that the actions of one officer should not reflect on all others.

“If an officer did use that, it is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.