COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man who prosecutors say was kicked in the head by an Ohio sheriff’s deputy while handcuffed and pinned to the floor demanded on Friday that the officer charged in his assault be fired.
Nick Ballachino called for Sgt. Jesse Franklin’s firing outside the Cincinnati law offices of his attorney, Fanon Rucker. His plea came a day after Franklin, a veteran of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. The charge carries a penalty of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.
Sheriff Jim Neil on Thursday said he was “outraged and shocked” by Franklin’s “egregious conduct,” which he said went against department training and values. Neil suspended Franklin without pay while a disciplinary case is brought.
Ballachino and Rucker, a Democratic candidate for prosecutor, said that’s not enough.
“An individual with this temperament should not be working in law enforcement in any capacity,” Rucker said. “If Sergeant Franklin felt comfortable kicking a handcuffed man in the head on camera, who knows what he’s capable of when there are no cameras rolling.”
Neil’s spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment Friday, a county holiday.
The June 9 incident involving Franklin comes to light amid mass demonstrations against excessive use of force by police, particularly against Black people, that followed the death of George Floyd. Floyd died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded for air.
County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Ballachino was arrested by Cincinnati police for disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business. He was taken to the Hamilton County Justice Center, where he resisted being searched by deputies, Deters said.
Ballachino, who is white, was wrestled to the floor by several deputies and handcuffed. Ballachino bit Franklin’s booted foot and it was at that point that video showed Franklin kicking the detainee’s head, Deters said.
Ballachino was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion and received five stitches. He said Friday that he still experiences headaches and dizzy spells following the incident, which he called “brutal.”
Franklin’s is the first prosecution of a police use-of-force case in Hamilton County since Ray Tensing, a white University of Cincinnati police officer, was charged in the killing of an unarmed Black motorist five years ago.
Tensing shot Sam DuBose, 43, in the head after pulling him over on July 19, 2015, for a missing front license plate. He testified that he believed his life was in danger when DuBose tried to drive away during the traffic stop.
State murder charges were dropped against Tensing after deadlocked juries led to two mistrials.