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Hamilton County deputy's assault charge dismissed

Alleged victim failed to appear for trial
Deputy Rick Johnson use of force
Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 20:54:35-04

CINCINNATI — A Hamilton County deputy's trial ended quickly Tuesday when his alleged victim, a former jail inmate, failed to appear, prompting the judge to dismiss the assault charge filed against the officer.

Judge Ted Berry dismissed the case against Deputy Rick Johnson without prejudice, which means City of Cincinnati prosecutors can refile the charge, according to Johnson's attorney, Stacey Graus.

Johnson was accused of using excessive force April 19.

Court documents said Johnson placed a handcuffed inmate he was escorting against a wall "to gain control." Johnson then reportedly shoved the inmate to the floor, causing a laceration above the inmate's right eye.

The Sheriff's Office suspended Johnson with pay pending the outcome of the criminal case against him.

"At this time, Deputy Rick Johnson remains suspended with pay, pending a disciplinary review," said Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Kyla Woods in an email response to the I-Team's questions. "The case is in the hands of the Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the city of Cincinnati. The internal investigation is still ongoing."

Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey said Johnson did not report the incident himself, but said other officers saw it happen on video and reported it to supervisors.

"Other people stepped up and said, 'Here's an incident,'" said McGuffey in a May interview with the I-Team. "We looked at it right away. Pulled the video and immediately acted upon it...it's so important, because it sets the precedent that under this sheriff's administration we will not tolerate excessive force."

The city prosecutor's office declined to comment on the case.