Hamilton County Sheriff Sgt. Jesse Franklin has been arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor assault for kicking inmate Nick Ballachino in the head, according to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil.
On June 9, Nick Ballachino was arrested by the Cincinnati Police Department for the misdemeanor charges of Disorderly Conduct While Intoxicated and Obstructing Official Business and taken to the Hamilton County Justice Center to be processed.
"During the admissions process into the Hamilton County Justice Center, as Mr. Ballachino was being searched, a physical altercation occurred between Mr. Ballachino and Sheriff's deputies, resulting in Mr. Ballachino being restrained on the ground by multiple deputies," according to a press release from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. "A review of video footage of the incident shows that, while Mr. Ballachino was on the ground in handcuffs, Sgt. Franklin kicked Mr. Ballachino in the head."
"As soon as I became aware of this incident, I immediately ordered a criminal investigation and suspended Sgt. Franklin's police powers," said Neil during a press conference.
After the investigation, the case was forwarded to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office, which presented it to a grand jury, who handed down the indictment.
Additional details added by the office of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters in a release say that Ballachino bit Franklin’s left foot and that Franklin was wearing work boots. Ballachino was taken to University Hospital after Franklin kicked him in the head once. There, Ballachino was treated and released back to the Justice Center, says the release. "As a result of this incident, he sustained a cut above his left eye which required 5 stitches. He did not receive serious physical harm which would be required for a felony assault charge."
Deters said the case will be transferred to the City of Cincinnati because they prosecute all misdemeanors that happen within city limits.
Today the Grand Jury announced the indictment of a HamCo Sheriffs Deputy for an incident that happened at the Justice Center. We must hold our law enforcement personnel to the same standards as any other citizen, and this deputy has now been charged with misdemeanor assault. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/YQq7FrMF02— Joseph T. Deters (@VoteJoeDeters) July 2, 2020
If he is convicted, Franklin will face up to six months in the Justice Center.
Currently, Franklin has been suspended without pay and Sheriff Neil said he is 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," he said. "These actions are inconsistent with our training and will not be tolerated under my watch."