CINCINNATI, OH – A wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati centers on police Officer Robert McGuire.
McGuire worked for the Cincinnati Police Department in District 5 for more than 12 years.
He died from complications of lung cancer in January 2015 at the age of 51.
McGuire’s widow, Paula Hammer-McGuire, filed the lawsuit against the city almost exactly two years after his death.
The lawsuit claims: “During the course of Mr. McGuire’s employment at District 5, he was exposed to toxic and hazardous substances. The City of Cincinnati was aware of the presence of toxic and hazardous substances at District 5 headquarters. The City of Cincinnati deliberately misrepresented the nature of the toxic and hazardous subtances present in the building.”
Fraternal Order of Police President Sgt. Dan Hils told WLWT he knew the lawsuit was coming. Hils has been raising these types of health concerns, including cancer, with the city for months.
“I’m unable to prove it. I believe that there is. I’ve seen enough anecdotal evidence that I believe strongly that there is,” Hils said. “But the city has not questioned it [or] gone on a quest to figure out if there is more or not.”
The city conducted an environmental audit on District 5 in December 2016. The city had several subcontractors test District 5 for mold, radon and asbestos. The results showed no abnormal levels of any of the tested substances.
Even with the negative test results, Hils wants the city or the police administration to do more research involving cancer-related deaths in every police district.
“There are people out there that have the ability to take a look at this data statistically,” Hils said. “Take a look at it medically or whatever needs to be done and find out for sure that something isn’t right or find out for sure that it’s all OK.”
Until then, Hils said, there are and will be more lawsuits.
“I know there are other lawsuits,” Hils said.
“The refusal to take a look at this in the future, I think, does lead towards more liability and that’s the part that’s disappointing.”
City of Cincinnati spokesperson Rocky Merz said the city does not comment on active litigation. The city manager has plans to move District 5 to a different building by 2018.