Warren asst. law director Timko-Sabau apologizes for Facebook post, city officials discuss frustration
On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke on police reform taking place throughout the state.
Days before the governor's speech, the city of Warren's long-time assistant law director and legal advisor for the police department, Traci Timko-Sabau, had a post purportedly written on her Facebook page that started people around the Valley talking.
Members of a community group advocating law enforcement reform are asking the city administration to look into the post that was reportedly on Timko-Sabau’s since-deactivated Facebook account.
The post stated, "If I attempted to pass judgment or speak on how a medical professional, accountant, social worker or any other profession for which I know NOTHING operates, I would realize I sound stupid. Dear lord, where are all of these policing and use of force "experts" coming up with this garbage and why are they at least not smart enough to know how dumb they sound? Neither a news clip nor a snippet of video gives the whole story. To see a 5 second clip and declare a conclusion is absurd. The fact a person is shot in the back DOES NOT automatically make this cop wrong. Without experience and training, you aren't expected to KNOW this... but do KNOW that your uneducated opinions are stupid and damaging. Police are 100% accountable to the public and the public is entitled to their opinion. Declarations of wrongdoing, and worse- wrongdoing based on race need to be made after the facts are known. I swore I wasn't going to do this. I think a Facebook hiatus is coming..."
According to the Warren Tribune-Chronicle website Friday, Timko-Sabau released a statement apologizing, “I am sorry for causing any of our citizens concern over the city of Warren’s full commitment to hearing all voices and bridging any gap with our police force.” The apology letter from Timko-Sabua was issued by the Warren law director Enzo Cantalamessa's office.
Warren's acting-police chief Jeffrey Cole told WFMJ-reporter Corey McCrea that Timko-Sabua's views do not reflect the views of the police department.
Warren Safety Services Director Eddie Colbert said he has spoken with the law director several times, as Timko-Sabau does not work directly under the mayor or safety services, but said the Cantalamessa has received calls and made calls to members of the community about the post.
Colbert said, "Her comments were at best ill-timed, tone-deaf, so we are giving the law director his space right now to make an informed decision on where he chooses to go with this."
On the social media threads discussing the posting, many, including public officials, were concerned about the post discussing 'shot in the back' following the recent fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
WFMJ news reached out to Ohio's Attorney General office for how guidance is issued to law enforcement agencies within Ohio on the use of deadly force.
Steven Irwin, the senior public information officer of communications for Attorney General Dave Yost's office said, "There is not a codified standard in Ohio. Most departments have a written use of force policy adopting the State of Ohio standard outlined by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board."
Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory board was first created in 2015 by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The collaborative is a 12-person panel of law enforcement experts and community leaders from throughout the state, which goal was to establish state standards for use of force including the use of deadly force, agency employee recruitment and hiring. An original member of the board was Bishop George Murry of Youngstown.
Gov. DeWine is now seeking to further expand law enforcement guidelines for the state and for the law enforcement agencies.
Warren Mayor William Franklin said he was "disappointed, frustrated" with what he described as "insensitive."
"I am still concerned, still frustrated," Franklin added.
Petitions have been sent to the mayor and other city leaders regarding the post, but the mayor said any decision regarding Timko-Sabau would have to come from the law director's office.