Friday, October 1, 2004

Owens endorsed by FOP in county coroner's race



By Cindi Andrews
Enquirer staff writer

The Cincinnati police union threw the weight of its 1,000-plus members Thursday behind Democratic coroner candidate O'dell Owens.

"He's going to be fair, and that's what we want: fairness and objectivity," Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Keith Fangman said.

Owens, an African-American doctor, called the FOP's endorsement a step toward improving relations between police and minorities.

"There has been a rift between the black community and the FOP, and there shouldn't be," he said. "We care as much about reducing crime as anybody else."

Owens is running against incumbent Republican Carl Parrott, whose office has been at the center of several controversies since his 2000 re-election. The county is being sued for millions of dollars over the biggest scandal, in which artist Thomas Condon took photos of posed bodies in the morgue.

Condon said Parrott and other morgue officials knew he intended to photograph bodies as part of an art project. Parrott has said he knew nothing about it.

The union also objected to the coroner's handling of the deaths of Roger Owensby and Nathaniel Jones during separate scuffles with police. Parrott's office termed both cases homicides.

"I understand that doesn't sit very well with them," Parrott said Thursday.

Among other FOP endorsements:

• Democrat Eve Bolton for county commissioner. She is running against Pat DeWine, who angered the FOP as a Cincinnati councilman when he supported the outside hiring of top police officials.

• Republican David Grossmann for commissioner. He was endorsed over Democratic incumbent Todd Portune because of Grossmann's experience as a juvenile court judge, Fangman said.

• Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters for prosecutor. Deters is running against Fanon Rucker, Melissa Powers and James Rueger in an all-write-in race to replace Mike Allen. Rucker has never prosecuted a felony, Fangman noted.

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




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