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Former Hamilton County deputy found not guilty of assaulting inmate

Defense Attorney: ex-deputy should get job back
Former Hamilton County Sgt. Jesse Franklin kicks an inmate in the head on June 9, 2020, after Franklin said the prisoner bit down hard on his boot.
Posted at 8:16 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 20:16:16-05

CINCINNATI — A former Hamilton County deputy fired for "excessive force" against an inmate in June 2020, was found not guilty Friday of assaulting the same prisoner.

Judge Bernie Bouchard acquitted Jesse Franklin, 39, of misdemeanor assault following a brief bench trial in Hamilton County Municipal Court.

"He had a use-of-force that the judge found was lawful," Franklin's defense attorney Mike Allen said. "He kicked him to take away the threat."

Nick Ballanchino was being processed by then-Sgt. Franklin at the Hamilton County Justice Center June 9, 2020, after being arrested for disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business.

Jail video shows deputies struggling to get the hand-cuffed Ballanchino under control. Deputies took Ballanchino to the floor where Franklin said the prisoner bit down on Franklin's boot. In response, Franklin kicked Ballanchino in the head, resulting in a hospitalization where the inmate received five stitches, according to a release from Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters' office.

Sheriff Jim Neil said Franklin was fired in July 2020 “after an investigation revealed that he used excessive force.” Ballanchino filed a lawsuit against Franklin and the Sheriff's Office, saying he still gets headaches and dizziness from the incident.

Allen said he expects Franklin to try to get his job back.

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