(**UPDATE FOLLOWS BELOW)
A sanitation worker has filed an incident report with Cincinnati Police alleging City Councilman Chris Bortz threatened him and used a racial slur while doing so.
The alleged incident occurred Thursday morning outside of Bortz' townhouse in Mount Adams, when the worker blew the horn on his garbage truck a few times because the vehicle's path was blocked by the councilman's parked car.
According to the police report, sanitation worker Shawn T. Allen said Bortz yelled at him, “Nigger, stop blowing that horn. I will shoot your ass.”
The police report lists the possible charge as ethnic intimidation, a fifth-degree felony. Such a charge carries a penalty of between six and 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine.
A detective is investigating the complaint to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
Bortz contacted The Enquirer Thursday night to notify the newspaper about the allegation and preemptively offer a denial. In an Enquirer article published today, Bortz said, “I would never use that term. And anybody who knows me knows I'm neither menacing nor a racist."
The councilman told the newspaper he couldn't remember exactly what he yelled, but it was something like, “There's no need to honk, I'm moving my car."
Bortz is seeking his fourth and final term on City Council later this year.
Bortz was part of a council faction earlier this year that unsuccessfully pushed to implement “managed competition” for garbage collection service as a method for reducing costs, which potentially involved privatizing the service and laying off municipal workers.
(**UPDATE: A Police Department spokeswoman emailed the media, stating -- "At 3:30 this afternoon the Public Information Office received a phone call from Lieutenant Colonel James Whalen, Interim Police Chief, to advise that the criminal investigation related to this report of Ethnic Intimidation has been closed: UNFOUNDED. The victim has retracted his allegations and the investigation has been closed.")