Thursday, July 20, 2000

Officer Hill fired after disciplinary hearing

By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Convenience store camera records Officer Robert J. Hill III subduing of Robert L. Wittenberg. | ZOOM |
        The Cincinnati police officer found to have used excessive force when subduing an Alzheimer's victim was fired Wednesday.

        Officer Robert J. Hill III was dismissed for dishonesty, neglect of duty and failure of good behavior after a disciplinary hearing.

        A police internal investigation in March determined Officer Hill, a three-year veteran, used excessive force in November when he threw Robert L. Wittenberg of Silverton, then 68, to the floor of a United Dairy Farmers store in Madisonville.

        The 32-year-old officer was stripped of his police powers and placed on desk duty a day after the internal investigation was released.

        Mr. Wittenberg and his wife, Mary, filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati, the police division and Officer Hill.

        “All I can say is, hurray,” said Mrs. Wittenberg.

        Fraternal Order of Police president Keith Fangman said he had not had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Hill on Wednesday night.

        “I don't know what his plans for the future hold,” Mr. Fangman said. “Civil service law gives him the right to appeal, but that does not guarantee him anything. If he does wish to appeal, an independent arbitrator will make the decision on any appeal filed by the officer.”

        On Nov. 14, Mr. Wittenberg wandered away from his home and entered the UDF store, muttering about someone needing help.

        A store employee contacted police and a dispatcher mistakenly relayed to responding officers that an intoxicated man was inside the store and threatening to hurt people with a drill and paint brush.

        Officer Hill, the first on the scene, threw Mr. Wittenberg to the floor and fell on top of him. A surveillance camera in the store recorded the incident.


Gas reversal: Midwest now has country's lowest prices
- Officer Hill fired after disciplinary hearing
PULFER: It's open season on gun laws
Ruling 'benefit' to citizens
West End: Issue is city
UC, Children's to get access to genetic code
Burglaries can't silence churches
Green Party may get Nader on Ohio's ballot
More bad weather, same problems
Parrot's luck brings him home
3 school districts beseech voters
Father charged with murder
Lakota East wins praise for Web design
Revision to benefit hospital
SAMPLES: Sweet taste of the past up for sale
Turning against technology
Art exhibit reveals life in Victorian age
Attraction of 'Mecca' missing from local group's production
Get to it
Pig Parade: TutankHAMun
Who should be cast away?
KNIPPENBERG: Jumping Classic exec will have to skip it
3 face Clermont robbery charges
Bunning bill aims to stem identity theft
Butler Sports Hall of Fame finds a place to honor heroes
Deerfield may expand coverage from sheriff
3free concerts tonight in Butler County parks
Hamilton buildings restored
Kentucky News Briefs
Kings students out hour early
Ky. to test curing process
Library board zeroes in on site
Little Miami names interim school head
Man gets 2 more life sentences
Official: Reinstate election charges
Thermal imager can cast away darkness for cops
Tristate A.M. Report