Cincinnati, OH – The former executive assistant chief of the Cincinnati Police Department has filed a defamation lawsuit against a member of the city council’s self-proclaimed “Gang of Five” after text messages released by a judge showed she called him a “racist.”
David Bailey, the former second-in-command of Cincinnati PD, filed suit against Cincinnati City Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court last Friday, according to WXIX.
The lawsuit was filed quickly - just one day after the text messages were made public – because the one-year statute of limitations was about to run out.
In November of 2018, Bailey testified, as part of an unrelated federal lawsuit, that the police chief became disenchanted with him after he conducted the overtime audit that found “exorbitant amounts” of overtime racked up by officers in the 5th District and by that district’s commander, WXIX reported.
Court records said that the 5th District Commander was alleged to be a “close, personal” friend of Chief Isaac.
Bailey testified that the police chief wasn’t concerned about the overtime overages until after somebody leaked the audit to the media, WXIX reported.
Then-Lieutenant Colonel Bailey, a 31-year veteran of the Cincinnati PD, had been told to resign or be fired after then-City Manager Harry Black determined the assistant police chief had undermined Police Chief Eliot Isaac’s authority and leaked the findings of an overtime audit to the media, according to WCPO.
He denied having leaked the audit, but said he was pushed out of the police department by Chief Isaac and Black anyway.
City Councilman Chris Seelbach, another member of the “Gang of Five,” texted the others on March 8, 2018 about the situation.
“FYI I just called Dave Bailey about a dog issue. As I was explaining the issue, he stopped me. Started crying," Seelbach texted.
"And told me his attorney called him in an hour ago, told him he had to retire or be fired by Harry later today. Said Harry suspects he is the one who is doing everything. And so he agreed to resign. He’s spent his entire career in the police dept. And he is not the leak. This is not the way he deserves to go,” Seelbach wrote.
Seelbach posted a tweet critical of Black’s decision to dismiss Bailey, WXIX reported.
Just 32 minutes after the message of support appeared on Twitter, Dennard texted Seelbach to let him know she disagreed.
“Just saw your tweet,” she wrote. “Not trying to undermine your friendship, but Bailey is a racist and has been for some time.”
More than 600 pages of texts, containing thousands of messages between Democratic councilmembers Dennard, Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld, Greg Landsman, and Wendell Young, were released to the public at noon on March 7, WXIX reported.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman, who ordered the release of the texts, lectured the “Gang of Five” members and told them they should all resign and pay the city back for the $101,000 settlement the city had to make in connection with their violations of the Sunshine Act, WVXU reported.
All five councilmembers have admitted they held secret meetings via text and email.
It was in these messages that Dennard labeled Bailey a “racist.” And she didn’t say it just once.
The lawsuit filed by Bailey said that the city councilwoman called the former police official racist on several more occasions.
“At various times thereafter, Defendant further published this false statement, both orally and in written publication, which have injured Plaintiff’s reputation and exposed him to public contempt, ridicule, shame and disgrace, and have adversely affected Plaintiff in his profession,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleged Dennard’s actions were negligent, reckless, wanton, and malicious, and published without privilege.
Dennard is being sued individually and in her capacity as a city councilwoman, the lawsuit said.