… for cutting in line.
A school police officer in Louisville, Kentucky has been arrested after video footage emerged of him viscously assaulting children.
Officer Jonathan Hardin faces charges of assault, wanton endangerment, official misconduct and false swearing after it emerged that on multiple separate occasions he used extreme excessive physical force on students at Olmstead Academy North Middle School.
According to court documents, the surveillance footage shows Hardin lifting a 13-year-old child into the air with a chokehold, then dropping the student to the ground, resulting in what a doctor has described as “an injury to the brain” due to loss of blood flow.
The court documents also note that as the boy laid unconscious on the ground, the officer did not call for medical help, opting instead to handcuff the child and isolate him for the entire day.
Eventually, Hardin drove the boy home, without informing the parents about the incident. The doctor, Bill Smock, reported that the boy was lucky to be alive, noting that Hardin’s conduct “manifested an extreme indifference to the value of human life, caused serious physical injury to the child and wantonly created a grave risk of death to the victim.”
In another incident, just five days earlier, Hardin was reported to have punched another 13-year-old full in the face because he had reason to believe that the student had cut in line at the cafeteria.
The court documents note that following the assault, which resulted in lacerations to the inside of the mouth and swelling to the child’s face, Hardin charged the student with menacing and resisting arrest. Police have confirmed that there was no probable cause for Hardin’s actions in this instance.
This is also not the first time that Hardin has been linked with such abuse. Last year, a lawsuit was brought by a police academy student who claimed that the officer physically abused him while he worked there.
The then 14-year-old child claimed that Hardin pulled him out of bed by the neck at 3 in the morning, and forced him to do pushups for an hour without water. The case only came to light when the teenager confided in a mental health director at The University of Louisville, who was then dismissed from the university’s clinical psychology department when she reported the incident to higher ups.
A school spokesman told reporters this week that Hardin has been fired from his post at the school but he has not yet been fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department, which has suspended him without pay.
“Allegations of our officers involved in criminal wrongdoing are very concerning and something we take quite serious,” Police Chief Steve Conrad said in a statement, noting that the Department has been “prohibited from speaking further on this particular case.”