- Associated Press - Thursday, December 29, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) - The city paid a police chief dismissed last year just over $250,000 as part of a confidential settlement reached this year, a city attorney confirmed.

The settlement with Jeffrey Blackwell was reached after he claimed he was unfairly fired, city Solicitor Paula Boggs said in a statement issued Wednesday. The city agreed to pay Blackwell and to change his dismissal from a firing to a resignation to avoid what Boggs called the cost of “protracted litigation.”

Before the settlement Blackwell’s attorneys had prepared a federal lawsuit alleging abuse of power, violation of due process, conspiracy and defamation, among other complaints, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Thursday.

The settlement was made public after public records requests.

Mayor John Cranley denied Blackwell’s allegations and said the decision to oust Blackwell and promote veteran officer Eliot Isaac to chief was “the right decision for the city.”

Blackwell was ousted in September 2015 after two years as Cincinnati’s top cop. City officials at the time cited low morale in the 1,100-officer police department and Blackwell’s poor leadership.

“At the time, crime was up and morale at an all-time low,” Cranley told the Enquirer. “Now crime is down and morale is up.”

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