A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy has been charged with assault after a video showed him kicking one of the jail inmates in the head with his boot. The incident was captured in the jail's surveillance camera and the footage was released on Thursday following a month-long investigation by the sheriff's office.
The accused, Sgt. Jesse Franklin, has been working with the department for more than a decade and if proved guilty could end up serving up a sentence in jail. The video surfaces at a time when the United States is witnessing massive public protests demanding the end of police brutality that has compelled many states to bring reforms within the police department.
Tussle Leads to Kicking
The incident in question took place on June 9. The inmate, Nick Ballachino, was arrested and taken to the jail by Cincinnati police on charges of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing police. According to a statement by the Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, Ballachino had become aggressive and combative with officers in the jail who were trying to process him after he arrived at the jail.
The jail deputies tried to search him, leading to a struggle but finally managing to handcuff him, according to the video footage. Ballachino was handcuffed and placed face down on the floor but he bit Franklin's left work boot. "Video from the Justice Center shows Franklin immediately kicking Ballachino one time in the head," Deters said in the news release. The inmate sustained a cut above his left eye that required five stitches.
According to Deters, both men are white and Ballachino's injury wasn't serious enough to charge Franklin with felony assault. However, Franklin could end up serving six months in jail if proven guilty.
Police Brutality Continues
The incident has come to the fore amid nationwide outcry against ending police brutality and racism against the blacks. Although both the involved were white, the past month has seen demonstrators taking to the streets across the United States protesting against racism and brutal tactics used by the police while handling a suspect.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil said that the moment he came to know about the incident Franklin was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor assault. "As soon as I became aware of this incident, I immediately ordered a criminal investigation and suspended Sgt. Franklin's police powers," said Neil.
Franklin has been working with the department for 14 years and his suspension is without pay. The sheriff's office is also proceeding with a disciplinary process required under the applicable collective bargaining agreement. "As Sheriff of Hamilton County Ohio I am outraged and shocked by the egregious conduct. These actions are inconsistent with our training and will not be tolerated under my watch," Neil added.