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Ex-police chief accused of making 'racial' comments, mayor's office says

By EVAN MACDONALD • Updated Aug 30, 2017 at 9:17 AM

AKRON (TNS) — Derogatory comments that now-former Akron Police Chief James Nice is accused of making before Mayor Dan Horrigan asked him to resign were “of a racial nature,” a spokesman for the mayor's office said.

Horrigan said Monday at a press conference that Nice is accused of making disrespectful remarks about other city employees. Horrigan asked Nice to resign after he learned of the remarks and other misconduct allegations against Nice over the weekend.

Horrigan declined to elaborate on Nice's remarks, but Assistant to the Mayor and Chief of Staff James Hardy confirmed they were racial in nature. Hardy declined to say who the remarks were directed toward.

“Out of respect for the employee involved we will not be commenting further in regards to that conduct,” he said in an email.

Nice's attorney, Michael Callahan, could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

Horrigan said at the press conference that Nice made the remarks while discussing a criminal investigation involving his nephew. Joseph Nice, 41, was indicted April 12 on charges of grand theft, forgery and tampering with evidence, Summit County Common Pleas Court records show. He's accused of forging a motor vehicle title, records show.

The Summit County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the misconduct allegations against Nice, who resigned Sunday. The prosecutor's office declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

The allegations against Nice include conduct unbecoming of an officer, inappropriate contact with a city employee and potential criminal misconduct, Horrigan said.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Nice is accused of coercing a female employee into a relationship. Horrigan and other officials declined to elaborate on any additional allegations.

Horrigan appointed Maj. Kenneth Ball as interim chief of the police department. The mayor and other city officials will follow a formal process outline in the city's charter before selecting the a permanent police chief, Horrigan said.

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