Rist, city reach tentative settlement

Published 10:23 am Thursday, November 10, 2011

Civil rights trial was to have begun in Cincinnati later this month

Ironton Police officer Beth Rist and the city have reached a tentative settlement in Rist’s civil rights lawsuit against the city, thus averting a trial that was scheduled for Nov. 14 in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.

Ken Harris, attorney for the city, said Judge Michael Barrett has signed a conditional order in the case. The terms of the agreement will likely not be available for two weeks, pending the signatures of principal parties involved, Harris said.

Harris said he could not comment further because Rist and others had not yet signed the agreement. Rist and her attorney, Marc Mezibov were contacted by telephone but were not available for comment.

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Rist filed the lawsuit against the city in June 2010. She claimed she was fired from the police department because of her gender and in retaliation for her documented opposition to what she has alleged was discriminatory treatment.

Rist was fired as a police officer in 2008 after she admitted she wrote a traffic ticketto someon other than the driver of the vehicle. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsification and was placed on probation. She fought her dismissal by filing a union grievance.

The arbitrator sided with Rist but city leaders appealed that decision in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. Visiting Judge Fred Crow sided with the city and the Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling. In December 2010, Rist appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, which decided not to hear the case. She also filed the civil rights suit in federal court.

Rist successfully ran for city council in 2008 but decided not to run for mayor earlier this year.

This is Rist’s second lawsuit against the city. She filed her first suit against the city in 2001, claiming sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. That suit was settled out of court. She was hired by the city as a police officer in 1996, the department’s first female.