Another Cincinnati police officer has been caught using a racist slur while on the job, according to an internal report provided to CityBeat by the Cincinnati Police Department on Aug. 2.
Officer Kelly Drach, who is white, yelled the slur, ‘Sand n*****!” on two known occasions while working the desk in CPD’s Real Time Crime Center in November, the report says. The cloaked phrase is often used against people who are Middle Eastern or people who appear to be Middle Eastern.
According to the report, the incident happened on Nov. 17 when Drach was angered by frequent calls to the department from fraudulent telemarketers. Drach often would engage the callers in back-and-forth “banter” to the point of escalation, the report says.
During one call, Drach went on a verbal tirade saying, “You’re taking advantage of old people, you’re criminals,” before loudly yelling, “Sand n*****!”
Drach was confronted for using the slur
The report says that senior crime analyst officer Christine Grimmelsman – who was in earshot of the slur – immediately confronted Drach by saying, “What the fuck, Kelly?”
Drach apologized to Grimmelsman, who has two Iranian nieces, according to the report. Drach told Grimmelsman that the telemarketers were “picking on her” and acknowledged she “should not have allowed it to escalate to that point.”
In the report, Grimmelsman said she did not find Drach’s apology to be sincere.
Approximately a week after the first incident, Drach engaged in back-and-forth arguments with fraudulent telemarketers and again called the telemarketer a “Sand n*****,” the report says.
Grimmelsman went on to report Drach’s use of the slur to two fellow officers but said she would handle the incident herself, according to the report.
Two anonymous complaints were made about Drach
The report says 911 call takers could have heard Drach’s use of the slur in the nearby Emergency Communications Center. On Nov. 23, an anonymous internal complaint was made to CPD’s human resources department about her racist words.
“Someone who uses this word should not work for my city. I hope you do something about this,” the anonymous complaint read.
An anonymous complaint also was filed with the Citizen Complaint Authority on Nov. 30 for the same incident.
“This is totally unacceptable for an officer to say this,” the complaint read.
Drach admitted to her use of the slur during the CPD’s ensuing internal review. During her disciplinary hearing, Drach attributed her decision to use the slur to multiple issues:
- personal stress emanating from the pandemic
- health issues with her father
- the loss of two children
- her husband losing his job
- her eldest son suffering from mental health issues
She said she had been working with a therapist for several years to address the stress.
Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police president Sergeant Dan Hils spoke on Drach’s behalf at the hearing, highlighting her lack of disciplinary history and positive performance evaluations. Drach’s personnel file shows a history of high marks for exceeding expectations during performance reviews.
Drach’s punishment was questioned as too light
Drach ultimately was suspended for seven days without pay, which she served in May. According to the report, District Four commander Mark Burns made the recommendation based on the fact Drach repeated the slur weeks later.
“Ater the first incident where she was confronted by a fellow employee, Officer Drach repeated the phrase again approximately one week later. Taking that into consideration, I recommend a seven-day suspension,” the recommendation from Burns reads.
“In the future, Officer Drach will just hang up the phone,” the investigation report reads.
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval issued a statement to CityBeat on Aug. 2 criticizing the officer’s punishment as too light.
“Shameful, racist statements like these have no place in our police department. CPD is an organization sworn to serve our residents, and actions like this are a betrayal of that mission. I want to be clear that this officer should have been fired, because our City should have a zero tolerance policy,” Pureval says.
Pureval says the city and interim CPD Chief Teresa Theetge are working to review “all options to ensure that our policies and training reflect the values of Cincinnati.”
Cincinnati Police Department officers have shown a pattern of racist language
This is the second case in recent weeks to come to light about a CPD officer using a racist slur while on duty.
The Cincinnati Police Department’s recent 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 slur was said in reference to a Black high school student who seemed to flash the officer his middle finger.
Valentino has been suspended until her pending disciplinary hearing, according to the department.
News of Drach and Valentino’s cases arrive on the heels of a federal trial involving two CPD officers. The officers sued former CPD Chief Eliot Isaac and the city of Cincinnati over being disciplined for using the n-word while on duty. One officer was white, the other Black, and both say they were not punished equally for their use of the slur. The trial ended with a hung jury.
Though CPD has provided requested documents related to the internal investigations and officer performance, CPD has not responded to CityBeat’s multiple requests to answer questions about Valentino or Burns.