A police chief who was accused by his two captains of a pattern of racism, sexism and other misconduct has been named in four additional complaints received by his township in southwest Ohio over the past two weeks.
West Chester Township Administrator Larry Burks said an investigation of the new allegations against Police Chief Joel Herzog is under way.
The allegations include testimonial from a Latino officer Herzog dubbed “brown Mike,” a Black officer whose hair Herzog called “ragged,” and a Puerto Rican officer who, upon discovering his additional Black heritage, was asked by Herzog whether he could now be counted “as two minorities.”
Another officer recalled female officers being asked to complete a uniform company’s “fitment quiz” that asked them to “Paint us a picture of your body!” with such responses as “Shapely!” and “My hips and booty talk a mean game.”
An outside review released earlier this week recommended Herzog take steps to be “more appropriate and professional” but stopped short of recommending formal discipline.
In it, Herzog did not dispute calling Middle Easterners “terrorists,” Indians “dots” and referring to a Latino officer as “brown Mike.” Attorney David Duckett’s review also confirmed allegations lodged by the officers and their attorney that Herzog called Black people who interacted with police “Number 2s.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Ohio chapter on Thursday called on the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division to get involved.
Since Herzog is not an elected official, he will address his responses to his employers at the township, who are withholding further comment, Burks said.
“Airing these accusations in the media and commenting on them without all the facts does a disservice to all involved and, in fact, minimizes the importance the township places on them,” Burks said.