Mother of woman at center of CPD racial slur case: ‘She was traumatized’

Posted at 8:19 PM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 21:19:12-05

By Ken Brown

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Cincinnati officer accused of using a racial slur while arresting a woman has had his police powers stripped.

It was outside of a Roselawn club in the early hours of Dec. 23 that something caused Cincinnati police officers to step in and arrest 40-year-old Ayanna Riley.

“He pulled up, came at her from behind and she said the first thing that he said was, ‘Shut the (expletive) up,’ threw her on the car and then that,” said the woman’s mother Yolanda Miller.

Somewhere in the middle of that, Patrol Officer Dennis Barnette is said to have used the "N" word when addressing Riley.

“She was traumatized,” said Miller. “She was like, ‘Ma, it was just,’ she called me like, ‘Ma, I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it.'"

In a letter to City Manager Patrick Duhaney, Police Chief Isaac Eliot said the behavior was unacceptable and would not be tolerated inside the department when referencing the slur -- which is said to be caught on body camera.

According to the arrest report, Riley was arrested for a fourth-degree felony assault and was accused of pushing Barnette in the face. It’s unclear at this time when during the incident this occurred.

Cincinnati police have launched an internal investigation into Barnette’s words and actions that night.

“This happened Saturday, today is Thursday. We should have heard something about it before now,” said Miller. “Why did it take so long? I’m not the kind of person that goes out, I’m real quiet.”

Council member Christopher Smitherman called the use of the word unacceptable.

The NAACP is calling for Barnette’s resignation or termination.

As the internal investigation unfolds, Barnette has had his police powers suspended, and he’s restricted to desk duty.

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