A Cincinnati Police Department officer is under suspension for using a racist slur while in her car on duty outside Western Hills University High School in April.
The CPD’s recently completed internal investigation of officer Rose Valentino revealed body camera footage from April 5 of the officer saying, “Fucking n******s, I fucking hate them.” The cloaked word in Valentino’s quote is a derogatory remark typically used by white people against Black people.
According to the report and the footage, Valentino was in slow traffic near the school’s pick-up/drop-off area. She made her racist statement after a Black male student seemed to flash the officer his middle finger while walking down the sidewalk after school, the report says.
According to U.S. News & World Report, Western Hills University High School has an enrollment that is nearly 70% Black and more than 87% non-white or minority.
As written on the report, Valentino claimed she had been “affected by her profession” and was “desensitized to racially offensive language by music and hearing people talk in the street.” The report also said the officer has “since sought treatment.” Studies have found that while charged or violent music can affect a listener’s mood or enhance aggression in people who are already aggressive, it generally does not desensitize people to what’s in the lyrics.
Valentino has been suspended of her police powers as she awaits a disciplinary hearing, according to John Curp, Cincinnati city manager. The review process is mandated by contractual requirements outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between the Fraternal Order of Police and the city, according to the City Manager.
It is unclear when Valentino will face her disciplinary hearing.
Through a July 26 media statement, Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval commented on the investigation.
“I was appalled to see Officer Valentino display such hateful, angry, and racist language. Our law enforcement represents all of this city, and Black Cincinnatians deserve to feel safe knowing they will be treated with mutual respect. A fair and complete process needs to play out, but someone demonstrating this behavior has no place in a world-class organization like CPD,” Pureval said.
During her last four annual performance reviews, Valentino’s performance rating was reportedly classified as “exceeds standards.”
The Cincinnati Police Department has not responded to CityBeat‘s multiple requests for comment via email and phone.
Valentino showed racist behavior previously
Valentino, a 14-year veteran of the CPD, had been reprimanded for alleged racist behavior in the past.
A 2019 lawsuit alleged that Valentino, who is white, was one of three officers who illegally detained a Black realtor and a Black prospective homebuyer during a scheduled house viewing in West Price Hill in November 2018. The suit said that prospective homebuyer Anthony Edwards and his realtor Jerry Isham had legally entered a house that was for sale at 1093 Morado Dr. by using a key from a lockbox at the front door. Retired police officer Thomas Branigan called the Cincinnati Police Department to report Edwards and Isham for “breaking and entering.”
Responding to the call with two other officers, Valentino seemed to point a weapon at the men – either a firearm or a taser – body camera footage appeared to show. After Edwards told the officers that he was there to tour the house with his real estate agent, Valentino placed Isham in handcuffs “until they can confirm” that story, according to the lawsuit. The officers eventually put Edwards in cuffs, as well.
The suit claimed that Valentino searched Isham’s pockets unlawfully and found real estate business cards but continued to detain Isham and Edwards. None of the officers indicated why the two were being held beyond needing to confirm that Isham was a real estate agent, the lawsuit said. Officers eventually found the lockbox and saw no damage to the property. Additionally, the suit alleged that body camera footage of portions of the incident was deleted.
The city of Cincinnati – which was named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with Valentino and the other officers – ended up apologizing and issued a $151,000 settlement to the men.
Valentino had been reprimanded before
In March 2020, Valentino reportedly was convicted in an off-duty disorderly conduct case involving family members. Records show that Valentino was referred to a behavioral health center for anger management and sentenced to two years probation.
Valentino’s personnel file also reportedly shows that she was reprimanded for “failure of good behavior” in 2019 for showing body camera footage from a homicide to members of her family.