Jonathan Hardin, a police officer with the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), was arrested and suspended without pay, charged with assault, wanton endangerment, official misconduct, and false swearing, stemming from his alleged beating two students at the Olmsted Academy North, an all-boy public middle school (the only one in Kentucky) at which Hardin worked.
Arrest warrants for Hardin allege that he hit one student with a closed fist, knocking him to the floor, and choked another student until he lost consciousness. Both students were 13 years old. The warrants say the incidents were caught on surveillance video.
In 2013, Hardin was commended by the department for his work with the Gentleman's Academy summer program, a joint effort between LMPD and the University of Louisville, which was designed to help students learn conflict resolution. He and a number of other officers with the program received the Distinguished Community Service award from the department.
It gets worse:
Erica Buckner, a psychologist who worked for Gentleman's Academy said she was kicked out of the clinical psychology [sic] program at UofL after she reported students' allegations about Hardin's behavior and the behavior of other officers. She said she was told she had "ruined the relationship" between LMPD and UofL.
Representatives of police officers, union reps and otherwise, often claim drawing attention to incidents of police brutality damages the relationship between the community and the police. If Buckner's claims are true, they illustrate how police can ignore allegations of police brutality for the same reasons.
Hardin is also facing a lawsuit by the family of a boy attending the summer program at the Gentleman's Academy last year. He's only been reprimanded by his police department twice, for missing a court date and losing his badge. He received another commendation praising him for "going above and beyond the call of the duty" for helping to work on a police youth program while off duty. The police department also says it received a letter from a citizen "grateful" for Hardin being there to deal with their "out of control child" with "grace… defusing what could have potentially become a very nasty incident."