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Will mayor's office mistaken honor for cop killer impact attendance at police ceremony, march?

FOX19 NOW/file FOX19 NOW/file
Linda Pope appeared on FOX19 NOW Morning News Thursday. (Photo: Jennifer Baker) Linda Pope appeared on FOX19 NOW Morning News Thursday. (Photo: Jennifer Baker)
Cincinnati Police Officer Dan Pope and Linda Pope (Photo provided) Cincinnati Police Officer Dan Pope and Linda Pope (Photo provided)
Cincinnati Police Officer Dan Pope and Specialist Ron Jeter (Photo: Cincinnati Police Twitter handle) Cincinnati Police Officer Dan Pope and Specialist Ron Jeter (Photo: Cincinnati Police Twitter handle)

The annual Police Memorial Week ceremony and parade for Cincinnati police and the Hamilton County law enforcement will be held Downtown Friday.

The event is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Fountain Square at Fifth and Vine streets.

It's not clear if attendance will be up or down this year.

Typically, hundreds attend. Mayor John Cranley and Linda Pope, the widow of a Cincinnati officer killed in the line of duty nearly 20 years ago, are expected to address the crowd.

But on Thursday, old wounds were reopened for many in blue when it was revealed the mayor' s office inadvertently honored the gunman who killed Officer Sonny Kim in what Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has described as an "evil ambush" in 2015.

Cranley tearfully apologized in a press conference Thursday night at the police union hall.

He also apologized to Officer Kim's widow, Jessica, and Specialist Tom Sandmann, who responded to Officer Kim's shooting, was shot at by Trepierre Hummons before he even parked his police SUV and then fired back at Hummons in self-defense, killing him. 

Now, the police union president, Sgt. Dan Hils, is asking rank and file officers to show their appreciation Friday for their colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

"I read a suggestions that we turn the mistake from the Mayor's office into motivation for a great turnout tomorrow," he posted on Facebook Thursday night after the mayor tearfully apologized in press conference at the FOP hall.

"Come help us honor our fallen at Fountain Square at 11 a.m."

In an appearance earlier this week on FOX19 NOW Morning News, Pope urged the public to turn out to show appreciation for law enforcement.  She said Thursday she understands mistakes happen and hopes the mayor's office is more careful in the future.

"It's a very tumultuous time in our country and if we didn't have law and order our world would be chaos," she said.

"This is an opportunity for the public to come out and support the officers that put the uniform on, the gun, the badge and the vest and they go out to protect them. This is an opportunity for folks to come out and say thank you."

Once speakers wrap up on Fountain Square, the crowd will march north into the West End.

The march will head trek north on Vine Street to Central Parkway and over to the Police Memorial across from Cincinnati Police District 1 headquarters on Ezzard Charles Drive.

A program will follow at the Police Memorial to symbolize the loss and to honor the memory of fallen officers with the "Changing of the Guard," presentation of floral tributes, a bugler playing "Taps," a flyover in the "Missing Man" formation and the 21-gun salute.

Officer Ken Grubbs will receive an award for "Personal Sacrifice." He was shot and wounded in the line of duty in Walnut Hills in March.

Three Cincinnati police officers will be awarded the "Medal of Valor." They are:

  • Officer Tony Brucato: He was cut on his arm by a knife-wielding suspect who jumped into his cruiser as he pulled up at Government Square to respond to robbery. Officer Brucato shot and killed the man in a shooting ruled justified.
  • Officer Patrick Galligan, who pulled the suspect out of the cruiser as he attacked Officer Brucato.
  • Officer Kevin Hankerson. He was working an off-duty detail at a Madisonville bank when a suspect vaulted the counter and pointed a gun. The officer pushed a teller out of the way and shot the suspect killing him. That shooting also was deemed justified.

A benediction will close the day's events.

Pope, a former Cincinnati firefighter, attended the 36th annual National Peace Officer’s Memorial Service in Washington D.C. earlier this week.

Her husband, Officer Dan Pope, 35, was shot and killed along with Specialist Ron Jeter, 34, on Dec. 6, 1997.

She turned her grief all those years ago into action to help other relatives of fallen law enforcement officers and founded the Ohio chapter of C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors).

She also is active with the national chapter and devotes much of her time to make sure the lives of slain officers are properly remembered and recognized as heroes.

"It was an honor for me to be asked to speak, as this is year is 20 long years since I lost my Danny,"  she said from Washington D.C. last week.

One of the first things she did when she arrived was visit the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.

The names of Officer Pope and Specialist Jeter are engraved on the memorial wall.

With this year's additions of 394 officers - 143 who died last year and 251 who died before 2016 but their names were never added - there are now 21,183 names listed from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, federal law enforcement and military police agencies.

"As I went to wall before all the survivors and LEO's arrived for the memorials, I had time to reflect on all I have been able to accomplish.

"Helping others has become my passion, to make sure others know we are here for them and they don't have to travel this journey alone," she said.

"I look forward to seeing old friends in Cincinnati next week. I love my Cincinnati officers and pray daily for their safety. I will always speak out for them and have their backs whenever and wherever possible."

When her husband was killed, he and Specialist Jeter were trying to arrest a man wanted on a domestic violence warrant in Clifton Heights.

Both wore plainclothes and bullet resistant vests when they went to the West Hollister Street apartment to serve the warrant.

During the arrest, the suspect, Alonzo Davenport, 20, became violent, according to an account of the incident on the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum's website.

A struggle ensued and Davenport shot both officers, instantly killing Officer Pope with a gunshot to the head.

Specialist Jeter died a few hours later at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

After shooting, Davenport ran out of the apartment and committed suicide by shooting himself at the corner of Calhoun Street and Jefferson Avenue in Corryville.

Cincinnati police responded to the Corryville shooting. An investigation there led them to the Clifton Heights apartment, where they found their colleagues down.

They were taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Officer Pope was pronounced dead.

Specialist Jeter died a few hours later.

The killings shook the city.

More than 1,200 people attended Officer Pope’s funeral at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.

Specialist Jeter’s services were held in Columbus. The former U.S. Marine left behind a young daughter.

Police Memorial Week runs through Saturday.

Cincinnati police held open houses daily this week at their five districts and in the Central Business Section (Downtown).

Residents, business operators and other community members were invited to meet with officers who work in their neighborhoods.

They also learned about specialized units such as canine patrol and detection teams, Segway and bike patrol and the SWAT Team.

Friday's open house will take place at District 1 and the Central Business District from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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