Attorney General Hiring Outside Lawyer for Civil Rights Case

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says he can’t prosecute civil rights charges against the Columbus police division because his office considers the police chief an employee.

DeWine’s office will hire an outside lawyer to represent the Ohio Civil Rights Commission in its case accusing the police department of “unlawful discriminatory practices.” The commission charges the department failed to quickly and adequately respond to complaints that a white sergeant used racial slurs and threatened to kill two black officers.

The police department has declined to comment while the case is pending.

DeWine’s office says it wants to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest since Chief Kim Jacobs serves on an unpaid advisory board to DeWine.

The black officers’ lawyer argues Jacobs isn’t an employee.