Jonathan Hardin (pictured) was reportedly fired from his post as a school resource officer at the Olmstead Academy North in Louisville, Kentucky, after he was arrested and charged with assault, official misconduct, wanton endangerment and false swearing charges, according to WHAS-TV.
As of Friday, it’s the fifth complaint against officer Hardin.
The 31-year-old law enforcer is accused of punching a 13-year-old boy in the face with a closed fist, after he spotted the child cutting a lunch line. The alleged incident took place on January 22 of this year. After striking and injuring the boy, Hardin then cited the child for menacing and resisting arrest—which according to police procedures was not warranted.
Five days after the punching incident, Hardin was involved in yet another altercation at the school. The school patrolman allegedly placed a boy in a dangerous chokehold that momentarily cut off his blood flow and caused him to lose consciousness. Instead of seeking medical help for the child, Hardin reportedly placed the boy in handcuffs, drove him home and failed to alert his parents as to what took place. The child was taken to a medical facility and this week it was determined that he did suffer a brain injury and could have died as a result of Hardin’s alleged bully tactics.
It was discovered that Hardin had been involved in another case last year, involving his allegedly assaulting a student at an academy that is run by the University of Louisville. A 14-year-old boy accused Hardin of yanking him by the neck, dragging him out of bed at 3:00 am and demanding that he do sit ups for an hour, sans water. The youth is reportedly suing the school and Hardin, along with two other officers, who also worked at the facility.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad released a statement shortly after Hardin was brought into custody:
“A Public Integrity Investigation was immediately initiated as soon as the allegations of criminal wrongdoing by Officer Jonathan Hardin were brought to our attention by JCPS. Further investigation determined the allegations to be egregious and necessary to present to the Jefferson County Attorney’s office for review. The County Attorney’s Office presented the case before a judge who issued an arrest warrant for Officer Hardin charging him with Assault 1st, Wanton Endangerment 1st, Official Misconduct 1st & 2nd, Assault 4th, and False Swearing.
Based upon the nature of the conduct which is clearly documented in the on-going criminal investigation, I have determined to exercise my authority under KRS 15.520 and suspend Officer Hardin without pay. Officer Hardin is afforded due process and we will await the results of this case in court. In the meantime, I have also initiated a Professional Standards investigation into this matter and, therefore, in accordance with KRS 15.520 we are prohibited from speaking further on this particular case.
Allegations of our officers involved in criminal wrongdoing are very concerning and something we take quite serious.”
Hardin was initially held on a $25,000 bond, and on Friday morning, pleaded not guilty to punching and choking two students at Olmsted Academy North. Hardin was removed from that school on January 28, 2015 and has since been suspended without pay from LMPD, according to WDRB.com in Louisville.
Attorney Thomas Clay plans to file a motion next week to join all civil claims against Officer Hardin into one lawsuit.